October 31, 2008
Thailand's agriculture ministry will submit the plan for managing agricultural outputs in order to halt the protests of farmers dissatisfied with the decline in agricultural products prices.
Agriculture Minister Somsak Prisananuntakul said on Wednesday, 29 October 2008 that on 4 November 2008, the ministry will submit the plan for managing agricultural outputs, with the interests of farmers against the sharp decline in agricultural product prices.
He noted the agricultural sector remains the pillar of the economy and despite a decline in prices; the trend is still bright as consumption will continue to grow.
Farmers have launched protests against the sharp decline in rice, corn and para rubber.
The Cabinet on Tuesday, 29 October 2008 approved the dedicated programme to rice and corn, while the Commerce Ministry is assigned to find ways to lower the production costs. Production costs have been escalating, mainly due to the higher prices of fertilizers and feed meal.
After the Cabinet approved the corn pledging scheme, farmers in Chiang Mai dispersed. Sanguan Nipuna, the protestors' head, said the scheme is temporary, running until February 2009. He expected farmers to witness another issue in the next harvest season and called for the government's future plans. He noted that corn imports have been escalating due to free-trade agreements, while Thai farmers suffer from higher fertilizer prices.
Para rubber price in the past two weeks have dropped by Bt5-10 per kg, to Bt30-Bt35 against nearly Bt100 in June 2006. Natural rubber prices have been declining in accordance with the price of synthetic rubber prices, following lower demand in the market.
Yala official Phasan Limpataphan said that some farmers are seeking new careers, to compensate a revenue drop at times when expenses are heading up.