Thai Rubber

On the tourist route in Thailand are rubber plantations — great groves of tall slender trees.  If you’re there in the right season you’ll even see the white latex dripping into buckets.  Very bucolic; peasants working out in nature and all of that.

thai rubber

Of course that’s a cartoon image – especially when the prices fall and the grueling work does not bring in enough to keep a body knit together.

The rubber farmers of southern Thailand are inured to hardship, whether from the toilsome predawn harvests in mosquito-infested plantations or the vagaries of the market for their latex. But this month, they snapped.

After two years of falling rubber prices had driven many farmers into debt, hundreds of them blockaded the region’s main north-south road and railroad to protest.

“This was our last resort, our only option,” said Thaworn Ruengkling, a rubber farmer who says he can no longer earn enough from farming to cover the cost of fuel and fertilizer, never mind feeding his family.

NY Times

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