Thai rubber sector overhauled with Bt700m upgrade for factories
The Rubber Authority of Thailand (RAOT) is spending Bt700 million to upgrade rubber-processing plants as part of its Smart Farmer programme, RAOT chairman Prapan Boonyakiat said on Wednesday.
The programme's latest project, in Trat, covers 18,095 rubber planters and over 270,000 rai of plantations. Its aim is to integrate farmers, farmers' institutions, government agencies and the private sector to achieve five goals – cost reduction, productivity, quality development, marketing and management. The target is to have rubber processing plants covering all seven RAOT jurisdictions under an annual budget of Bt700 million.
The RAOT chief said the Rubber Board of Thailand had recently approved a Bt31-million upgrade for the Trat Provincial Rubber Network Cooperative Ltd factory. The upgrade will increase capacity threefold and boost quality of concentrated latex production at the factory. Higher capacity means the factory can support more rubber growers in the region, buying their fresh latex for a good price and then storing the concentrated product to control supply and prices in a highly volatile market.
Thailand released 519,614 tons of latex to the market in January, said the RAOT. However, that figure will fall 32 per cent to 353,224 tons in February and continue to decline through April, it said. Supply of latex will drop by as much as 80 per cent in the coming off-season months, said the RAOT. However, falling supply and rising purchasing power after Chinese New Year should see rubber prices increase to lift the pressure on farmers, it added.