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Drought-hit fruit farmers gain as prices skyrocket

May 12. 2016
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LOWER production due to drought and high overseas demand has resulted in skyrocketing fruit prices, according to the Commerce Ministry.

Chutima Bunyapraphasara, the ministry’s permanent secretary, said that there had been a 20-per-cent drop in production, with the problem especially bad in the eastern region. “Lower output of tropical fruits, especially durian, mangosteen and rambutan, has caused retail and export prices to be hiked,” she said. “With high demand and more traders to meet the higher demand for Thai fruit in overseas markets, focusing on China, the prices of those fruits will continue to rise this year, or double from the same period last year,” she said.

According to the ministry’s survey in the East, the price of durian, the king of fruit, rose from Bt35 per kilogram at the same time last year to Bt70 per kilogram at the farm gate and to Bt150 per kilogram retail and between Bt100-Bt120 per kilogram for shipping. The production of durian this year is forecast to drop 6.38 per cent to 316,071 tonnes.

The price of mangosteen, the queen of fruit, is unchanged or slightly higher than the same period last year – Bt70-72 per kilogram to Bt73-75 per kilogram. The output of mangosteen is forecast to drop 3.75 per cent to 110,036 tonnes this year. The price of rambutan has jumped from Bt34 per kilo to Bt52 per kilogram, while production is tipped to drop 18.68 per cent to 175,626 tonnes this year.

In a bid to ensure fairness, the Commerce Ministry and provincial commerce offices will regulate fruit dealers and traders, chiefly Chinese, so that farmers will not be pressured to sell fruit at cheap prices or be cheated by unscrupulous dealers or traders.

Chutima said the government would closely monitor fruit smuggling, such as smuggling of mangosteen from Indonesia into the country that cost about half the price of Thai mangosteen.

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