Mangosteen trees making way for pricier durians, says official
Mangosteen trees in the eastern region are being felled in large numbers to grow the pricier durian, a senior Department of Agriculture official said on Friday.
Chonlatee Numnoo, director of the Agricultural Research and Development Office’s Region 6, wrote in a Facebook post that although as many as 140,000 tonnes of mangosteen fruit have been exported this year, the prices are not as attractive as those of durians.
“So, it is not surprising that many mangosteen orchards have been turned into durian plantations. The other day, I spotted a truck full of firewood that was cut from mangosteen trees,” he said.
“It’s very sad because it takes several years for a mangosteen tree to grow that big. Mangosteen trees survive far longer than durian trees,” Chonlatee said.
Mangosteen prices have fluctuated in recent years, ranging from 20 to 50 baht per kilogram.
According to the official, mangosteen growers have faced many issues over the past several years, including unstable prices, price curbs by middlemen, high wages of harvesters, and a lack of processing industry for the fruits that cannot be exported.
He noted that Thai authorities appear to be more interested in durians although mangosteens have more problems.
Chonlatee suggested that mangosteen growers form their own association to boost their bargaining power in pushing for action by relevant authorities and those in power.
His regional office is located in Chanthaburi province, with the responsibility covering seven provinces in the eastern region — Chachoengsao, Prachin Buri, Sa Kaeo, Chon Buri, Rayong, Chanthaburi, and Trat.