Actions in Surat Thani, Southern Thailand
Why do we work in Surat Thani?
Southern Thailand is now the center of natural rubber production, accounting for 60% of the natural rubber produced in Thailand. Surat Thani is an especially very important place for us because it is where Y.T. Rubber Co., Ltd. (YTRC) is located, the Yokohama Rubber Group’s natural rubber processing subsidiary. However, in recent years, there have been confirmed outbreaks of leaf blight in the para rubber trees, requiring relevant countermeasures. That is why Yokohama Rubber has decided to start an initiative for sustainable natural rubber in Surat Thani.
Start survey of natural rubber plantation in Surat Thani, Thailand
Yokohama Rubber began investigating natural rubber plantations in Surat Thani Province, Thailand from June 2019.
So far, we have visited and interviewed about 179 farmers who are mainly business partners with YTRC. The survey identifies and maps the location of plantations to ensure that they are not in natural parks or protected areas. We also check the number of years the plantation has been cultivated and whether the land is registered with the Rubber Authority of Thailand (RAOT) to make sure it is not illegal land and that the land development has not led to deforestation. For those working on plantations, we check their working hours, working days, etc., whether they can freely leave their jobs, whether they have health insurance, whether there are children under the age of 18 on the plantation, and how many of them are working on the plantation to make sure there is no forced or child labor. No illegality has been found in the farm survey to date. In addition, we ask if there are any difficulties involved in running natural rubber plantations. Through the survey, we were able to learn about the problems faced by the plantations and the issues that need to be resolved. We will continue this survey in the future, and 500 plantations will be surveyed by the end of 2022. Yokohama Rubber will accumulate the survey results to analyze the issues faced by natural rubber plantations, and use the data to contribute to the sustainable management of natural rubber farmers, as well as improve traceability.
Yokohama Rubber and RAOT hold seminar event in support of natural rubber farmers
The Yokohama Rubber Co., Ltd., and Rubber Authority of Thailand (RAOT) Surat Thani jointly held a seminar event to help Thai natural rubber farmers improve the quality and productivity of their natural rubber in December 2020. Fifty farmers from the Surat Thani area participated in the event and each received a complimentary 500kg of fertilizer developed using RAOT’s specialist knowledge. The fertilizer contribution was warmly received and greatly appreciated by all participants.
In January 2020, Yokohama Rubber signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the RAOT to cooperate in efforts to provide economic support and improve traceability to ensure transparency and soundness of the natural rubber supply chain. The MOU is a concrete action based on Yokohama Rubber’s “Procurement Policy for Sustainable Natural Rubber.” The seminar event was being held as an action to support natural rubber farmers under the MOU.