Thailand is the world's largest rubber producer and exporter, but falling prices and a decision by the military not to extend subsidies risks alienating rubber farmers, most of whom are in the south.
Rubber farmer Somkid Unping joined demonstrations that began late last year aimed at bringing down the populist government of then prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra. Somkid from Surat Thani said his hopes for a better deal for rubber farmers in return for their loyalty had been dashed.
"We stayed for months because we believed that a new government would not neglect us," Somkid said.
The National Council for Peace and Order has tried to step back from a culture of subsidies across the agricultural sector although coup leader Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha, who became prime minister on Monday, has said the government would offer some help, including soft loans for producers to buy fertilizer. But disgruntled farmers say that is not enough.
Six rubber farmers' associations are expected to meet Gen Chatchai Sarikalaya, an NCPO member, on Monday to voice their concern.
"We heard Gen Prayuth say on television last week that he cares about rubber farmers but the intention to help has come too late," Boonsong Nabtong, chairman of the Federation of Rubber Planters Association of Thailand and a supporter of the pro-establishment Democrat Party, told Reuters.
There were no plans to protest, he said.
Falling global demand
Thailand produced 4.2 million tonnes of rubber in 2013, of which 3.7 tonnes were for export, generating about 200 billion baht. This year, because of falling global demand, physical rubber prices have fallen 24%, with the benchmark Thai smoked rubber sheet (RSS3) dropping to $1.85 per kg on Tuesday, from $2.45 early this year, far below the record of $6.40 per kg set in 2011 when demand from China was strong.
Ms Yingluck's government spent 22 billion baht building rubber stockpiles under state-funded price support programmes that included buying rubber at above-market rates. The programme mirrored a money-guzzling rice subsidy programme that cost taxpayers billions of baht and fuelled opposition to the government from the establishment.
The military's 2015 budget plan has already sparked criticism from some politicians for allocating too much money to compensate for the previous administration's failed populist policies.
But some farmers said they are not looking for hand-outs but instead wanted the military government to support prices by holding back stocks. The military government approved a plan on Monday to sell its 200,000 tonne rubber stockpile but farmer have gone to court to block it.