Rubber farmers, production in Thailand worst hit by flooding

rubberRubber production in Southern Thailand is experiencing the worst impact they have had in 10 years due to flooding in the area, said Uthai Sonlucksub, president of the Natural Rubber Council of Thailand.

Uthai said that the rubber farmers in the area have experienced both drought and flooding this year which has been disastrous for them. The floods have also come at a particularly bad time for the farmers in Southern Thailand, which is a major rubber-producing area in the country.

There are orders of rubber from China, but Uthai said they are still unsure whether they will be able to meet the orders due to the havoc caused by the recent floods.

Rubber prices are expected to increase this year because demand is set to exceed supply, Uthai said.

The country’s wet season usually ends in late November and heavy rain and flooding are rare in January. Unseasonably heavy rain has hit 12 out of 67 provinces, officials said.

The widespread flooding has already killed 21 people as of January 9, with more than 330,000 households affected, according to the Department Disaster Prevention and Mitigation.

The department said that the main airport in the southern province of Nakhon Si Thammarat would remain shut for the foreseeable future. A rail route from the Thai capital Bangkok to Nakhon Si Thammarat has also been suspended.

“We have sent soldiers, police and the Ministry of the Interior to ease the situation,” Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan.

Widespread floods in 2011 killed more than 900 people and caused major disruption to industry, cutting economic growth that year to just 0.1%.