Where the rubber meets the road

When it comes to solving the rubber industry crisis, several argue it will take more than mere state intervention for low prices to bounce back

by any stretch: A rubber plantation in Kanchanadit district, Surat Thani province. Thailand is the world's largest rubber producer. However, the industry has struggled with price slumps over recent years. Photo: Patipat Janthong

When one considers the life of a farmer, perhaps they picture peaceful, slow-paced living on a pretty rural property. But for many farmers, this serene image rests at odds with the daily struggles that they face.

The family rubber plantation of Preeda Panmueang, a 45-year-old farmer, has been saddled with problems over recent years. Born in Nakhon Si Thammarat, she is one of nine children in the family. Her parents own a 50-rai rubber plantation that is shared among her siblings. But the business is no longer profitable enough to support the family.

So Ms Preeda decided to move from the family farm over one decade ago to her current property in Phra Saeng district in Surat Thani province. There, she built her own rubber plantation on 5 rai of land. When rubber prices are up, she can enjoy life comfortably.

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