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PHUKET: The Rubber Growers Cooperative Federation of Thailand has proposed establishing its own car tyre factory in a bid to deal with the plunging price of natural rubber.

The federation chairman, Perk Lertwangpong, said after his meeting with representatives of rubber planters from the 14 provinces that comprise all of Southern Thailand that the strategy was necessary for their survival, instead of just waiting for the government’s help.

To invest in the project they need backing of 3 billion baht, said Mr Perk. The Office of the Rubber Replanting Aid Fund has agreed to fund the project by extending a 50,000-baht loan to individual members of the federation to invest in the project collectively. The federation would soon start to publicize the idea amongst rubber growers nationwide, starting in the South.

Currently, the price of natural rubber is at 50 baht a kilogram, compared to 172 baht in February 2011.

Thailand currently stands as the largest rubber producer in the world with a total of 3.6 million tons exported in 2013 (related story here).

— National New Bureau of Thailand