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Thai Rubber Sector Set To Face Tough Time Ahead

BANGKOK, Sept 30 (Bernama) — Thailand’s rubber sector is set to face a tough time at least for the next few years as it is still dependent on export, while only a small portion is consumed domestically.

Thailand exported 87 per cent of its rubber and only 13 per cent is used locally.

Aat Pisanwanich, director of Thai Chamber of Commerce’s International Trade Studies Centre, said Thailand’s main market, China, has reduced rubber import due to the lack of clear recovery in global markets, especially in European Union.

“China has also changed its economic policy to focus more on domestic investment and consumption instead of focusing on export,” he told Bernama here today.

Yesterday, the Commerce Ministry said Thailand’s rubber export in August dropped by 23 per cent to 441 million baht and for the eight-month period fell by 20 per cent to 4.215 billion baht.

Aat said the rubber price currently stood at about 40-45 baht per kg and based on current factors should be able to rise to 60 baht per kg.

He said the government and the relevant agencies should help boost the domestic uses and reduce export.

Aat proposed the government accelerate financial support for local cooperatives to set up factories to process rubber as well as seek markets for the products.

He said 100-200 million baht was required to set up a factory to produce basic kind of gloves which did not need high technology such as medical gloves.

Thai Prime Minister General Prayuth Chan-ocha said solving the rubber problem that had “accumulated for a long time” was a “national agenda”.

Thailand has introduced agricultural zoning covering six of its staple crops — rice, tapioca, sugar cane, maize, rubber and oil palm.

Farmers will be given incentives for planting crops best suited to their locations, while those that against taking up recommendations could lose their subsidies.

Aat said the zoning policy was good for coping the rubber problem as the government needed to increase yield from 270 kg per rai (0.16 hectare) to 300 kg per rai instead of expanding cultivation areas.

— BERNAMA

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