Retired Thai general to head rubber body amid price crisis

A retired army general has been appointed to tackle Thailand's crisis of falling rubber prices, which has led the military government to announce plans to purchase rubber from growers at above-market rates.

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said Wednesday that retired Army Chief of Staff Chatchalerm Chalermsuk was appointed president of the Rubber Authority of Thailand. The organization coordinates rubber policy.

The Cabinet on Tuesday agreed the government would buy as much as 200,000 tons of rubber from growers at up to 60 baht ($1.65) per kilogram (2.2 pounds). The current market price of 34 baht ($0.94) per kilogram is a seven-year low.

The military government has been a vociferous critic of a similar rice subsidy program that was introduced by the civilian government it ousted in 2014.