Frustrated by the plunging price of pineapples, two local growers have found a way to ease their desperation by giving the fruit away to animals.
Sornkhiri Buajaeng and his wife, Sunaree Meemak put one ton of their produce in a pickup truck and drove from their orchard in Ban Kha district to the Khao Prathab Chang Wildlife Feeding Centre in Chom Bung district to donate the fruit to wild animals. The couple said they decided that donating the fruit would be better than watching it rot at home. Their decision reflects growing unhappiness among growers with the glut of fruit that has sent prices tumbling.
“Sales this year are very bad because the price is very low,” said Sunaree, who grows pineapples on 30 rai of land. Pineapple processing plants in the first five months of this year were paying an average of 3.14 baht per kilogram, a 50% drop from 6.29 baht last year, according to the Office of Agricultural Economics. Even worse for those in the business, the average selling price of pineapples for consumption has also averaged 3.14 baht per kg, compared with 12.28 baht a year ago.
But in some areas such as Chaiyaphum, pineapples are selling for as little as two baht per kilogram. The Agriculture Ministry has blamed the low prices on an oversupply. It did not give production statistics for this year but last year the country produced 2.5 million tons of pineapples.
The plunging prices are affecting 40,000 farmers in 46 provinces. Prachuap Khirikhan is the country’s top pineapple-growing province, followed by Ratchaburi, Phetchaburi, Rayong and Chon Buri, according to statistics from the Agricultural Extension Department. In a bid to alleviate the problem, provincial governors and other agencies have been ordered to promote consumption, while the Commerce Ministry has been directed to find new markets. Other promotional activities in recent weeks have been aimed at helping the farmers. Wat Phothiyan in Muang district in Phitsanulok bought five tons of the fruit to give away to visitors to the temple.
On June 1, Royal Thai Army officers in Khon Kaen bought seven tons from farmers in Prachuap Khirikhan to give to soldiers on duty in the province. As authorities step up efforts to assist farmers, the ministry says their pain will be eased soon. Prices should improve from now, as more than 60% of the crop came onto the market during the first half of the year.
– Bangkok Post