Sharp declines in rubber prices creates livelihood hardships

May 12, 2017

HURFOM: There has been a sharp decline in the price of rubber in Mon State following last month’s Sangkran Festival. A unit of rubber priced at more than 1,000 kyat before the water festival is now priced at only 700 kyat, according to a local in Thanbyuzayat Township, Mon State.

During the previous 3-4 years, the rubber price has gradually declined; however, it had regained its optimal price during the previous months. The price of rubber has consistently declined over the last month, almost matching the lowest market price of the last 3-4 years.

A pound of grade 3 rubber that was priced at up to 1,200 kyat before the Songkran Festival is priced at only just over 700 kyat now. That means there is a more than a 400 kyat decline in the per pound price of rubber.

The decrease in prices is having a severe impact on rubber farmers’ ability to make a livelihood.

The rubber price has reached rock bottom like the price during the previous years. The small plantation owners like us struggle to balance income and outcome. The rubber price has declined but the commodity price doesn’t decline. As the rubber price has gradually declined, the income is getting lower and lower. But our expense remains the same. So the small plantation owners have faced an economic hardship. But this situation can’t affect big plantation owners too much,” said Nai Tarr Ngwe, a 100-plant rubber plantation owner from Choke Pa Line village, Thanbyuzayat Township.

Now, as the rainy season is about to start and the number of days farmers can work in their rubber plantation has decreased; therefore, there is a huge impact on the income of rubber plantation owners.

There are lots of rubber plantation owners in Mon State and a sharp decline in rubber price can lead to economic hardship in the region. Even the former Mon State Chief Minister had promised to support and protect the rubber plantation owners in Mon State; however, there has been no obvious action from the Mon State government.


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