BANGKOK, June 4 (Xinhua) -- A large volume of rubber might be used in the construction of riverside rubber embankments throughout Thailand in an effort to promote its domestic use instead of export.
Uthai Sonlaksap, chairperson of the Rubber Network Council and Rubber Farmers Institute of Thailand, said on Thursday that his agency is yet to submit a proposal to the National Rubber Policy Committee chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.
The proposal is made for the planned use of some 500,000 tons of rubber in the construction of the anti-flooding rubber embankments along the banks of 25 rivers in all regions of the country.
If initially approved by the committee and finally by the government, an estimated 100-billion-baht (about 3.16 billion U.S. dollars) budget will be provided for rubber embankment projects to be carried out nationwide, according to the rubber agency's chairperson.
That sum of money to finance the planned rubber levee scheme might be secured from a 500-billion-baht (about 15.81 billion U.S. dollars) government budget, which have no been allocated under an executive decree for post-pandemic social and economic restoration measures.
Instead of exporting a large volume of rubber at lowered prices to the world markets, Uthai said, Thailand might look to use more of it within the country to create jobs and raise more incomes for local villagers, who might be hired in such rubber levee project.
Some 360,000 tons of rubber might be used in the planned making of rubber fender barriers along 12,000 km of roads throughout the country, according to Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob.
Rubber farmers will earn more income by directly providing their product to road-building agencies, namely the Department of Highways and the Department of Rural Roads.
Such rubber fender barrier project is primarily designed to make a substantial domestic use of rubber, which would be otherwise bound for export, according to the minister.
As the world's biggest producer and exporter of natural rubber, Thailand's total rubber production increased for 2.43 percent from 13.54 million tons in 2017 to 13.87 billion tons in 2018, according to Rubber Statistical Bulletin.
Thai rubber accounts for up to 40 percent of global supply but Thai rubber farmers have struggled with low prices in recent years due to decline in global demand. Enditem