Thailand approves US$139mn loan to support rubber farmers

rubbersheet worldbankphotocollection flickrThailand has approved a US$139mn loan to the country’s rubber farmers who have been affected by the falling global prices of the commodity

Loans upto US$2,781 per household were given to around 82,000 farmers, said goverment spokesperson Sansern Kaewkamnerd. Another 53,000 farmers are awaiting loan approvals.

Last month, the Thai cabinet approved a package worth US$365mn, which would be used to pay rubber farmers a direct subsidy of US$$41.74 per rai (0.17 hectares) for up to 15 rai per household. It was only last year that Thailand provided a US$287mn loan to rubber farmers.

The Southeast Asian nation is one of the top producers and exporters of rubber. The government has supported several farmers who have been negatively impacted due to falling prices of rubber. According to the Singapore Commodity Exchange, the price of unsmoked rubber sheet, which farmers sell to factories, stood at US$1.06 per kg as of the first week of December, whereas Thai RSS3 rubber was quoted at US$1.3 per kg – lowest prices since December 2008.

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