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Carbon Credit Cash-In: Thai Rubber Farmers’ Shocking New Income Stream Unleashed!

The Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) sets forth a carbon tax on export products, slated to be implemented on January 1, 2026. This strategic undertaking is part and parcel of the EU’s European Green Deal, which ambitiously aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by a minimum of 55% before 2030. The expansion of carbon credit trading is instrumental in achieving this goal.

Carbon credits, alternatively known as carbon offsets, function as permits that grant the holder the right to emit a specific quantity of carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gas emissions. In essence, farmers can generate financial gains by minimizing their emissions and selling their surplus credits.

Nakorn Takwiraphat, the governor of the Rubber Authority of Thailand (RAOT), expressed that the valuation of carbon credits emanating from rubber trees remains low. This is due to the Thailand Greenhouse Gas Management Organisation (TGO) categorizing rubber trees as agricultural crops. Consequently, the agency has presented a comprehensive report detailing the carbon credit potential of rubber trees to the TGO for their review.

Takwiraphat believes that rubber farmers should earn carbon credits within the range of 50-422 baht per tonne of carbon. Furthermore, RAOT intends to offer valuable guidance and support to rubber farmers in navigating the complexities of carbon credit trading in order to satisfy customer demands.

The authority has also approached the Department of Agriculture (DOA) to validate carbon credit for rubber plantations. “In 2021, RAOT allowed farmers to sign up for the Thailand Voluntary Emission Reduction Programme (T-VER),” stated Takwiraphat, adding that for the years 2022 and 2024, RAOT will seek carbon credit certification to facilitate sales within the carbon market.

Takwiraphat confirmed the effectiveness of rubber trees in storing carbon, particularly during the five years preceding rubber tapping. He suggested that rubber farmers could capitalize on selling carbon credits before tapping into the rubber trees.

Further reductions in carbon emissions can be realized by diminishing chemical and fuel usage, as well as refining production and transportation methodologies. The RAOT has engaged in discussions with the International Rubber Research and Development Board to explore possibilities for rubber farmers to generate supplementary income through carbon credits.

Rapeepat Chantarasriwong, the director-general of the DOA, disclosed that the department has entered into a memorandum of understanding with the TGO. This collaborative effort centers on promoting the T-VER program by utilizing rubber tree plantations as a case study for assessing greenhouse gas emissions. The DOA also aims to develop their staff’s capacity to certify carbon credit for farmers.

Thailand’s three primary rubber products — rubber sticks, concentrated latex, and smoked rubber sheets — are responsible for emitting approximately 0.5-0.7 tons of carbon dioxide collectively. Chantarasriwong recommended industry leaders to proactively adapt to climate change-related policies by incorporating eco-friendly practices into the production process, thus ensuring global market competitiveness.

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