Monday, April 26, 2010


More rubber farmers to be encouraged

High demand outlook attracting interest

  • Published: 26/04/2010 at 10:13 AM
  • Newspaper section: Business

The Office of the Rubber Replanting Aid Fund (ORRAF) plans to groom 12,000 para rubber experts over the next four years to support expansion plans and cope with an expected industry boom.

These rubber experts, or mor yang in Thai, will help instruct new planters and train them in how to grow and tap the trees in addition to processing for various rubber products.

Director-general Wit Pratuckchai said the Office planned to launch the second phase of its initiative to expand plantations, with a target of 800,000 rai in new growing areas by 2012.

The first 100,000 rai are planned for this year, 300,000 next year, and 400,000 rai in 2012. About 550,000 rai are in the Northeast region, with the rest spread over the North and central provinces.

As a para rubber tree takes seven years to mature for harvest, he expects the new fields will increase natural rubber supply by 224,000 tonnes per year from 2017.

The Office has 3.97 billion baht to fund the project, with 2.82 million for saplings, fertiliser and other essentials over the first three years. About 800 million baht will be used for training and 350 million for management.

The second phase has been scaled down from an initial one million rai, following a first-phase planting of one million rai from 2004-06.

The expansion follows the ORRAF’s goal to add between 80,000 and 160,000 new rubber planters.
The policy targets small planters with 2-15 rai of land, and it is expected to earn each of them a minimum of 112,000 baht per year, based on rubber prices of 100 baht per kilogramme.

The Office is confident the industry’s bright outlook will attract new growers though many of them have no experience in rubber growing, which is typically more popular in the South.

‘‘We have 120 staff who will train the first 1,200 rubber experts starting next month,’’ he said.

The trainees from villages and farm co-operatives will undergo a threemonth course on management to support the growing industry.

Strong demand from the automobile industry due to the global recovery as well as market speculation have driven rubber prices to record highs.

Ribbed smoked rubber sheets (RSS3) for May delivery reached 128 baht a kilogramme this week, more than double the 57-baht average in the same period of 2009.

Although the industry is booming, Mr Wit cautions planters to carefully manage their supply to minimise risk.

Extremely high prices could fluctuate from speculation, leading to default risk on orders by exporters.

Planters will be happy with 80 to 100 baht per kg, considering 50-60 baht for production costs, he said.

About the author

Writer: Walailak Keeratipipatpong
Position: Reporter

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