Dropping coconut prices have not been welcomed by coconut growers who are calling for urgent help from the government to cannot their operations
Thap Sakae District in Prachuap Khiri Khan, as the largest coconut growing area in the country, is where growers are the most effected due to imported coconuts and increased coconut production this year. This has resulted in the price of coconuts being reduced to only 6 THB each. This is lower than the production cost with loss of income for the growers. The selling price during 2016 to 2017 was between 15-27 THB.
Mr. Surat Khamlert, a coconut farmer in Thap Sakae, said that he had over a hundred thousand coconuts in stock from the beginning of the year. They were then valued at 10 THB each, however now the selling price is only 6 THB. With other costs to manage, such as maintenance and processing, there is an additional cost of 3 THB each.. Mr. Watcharin Choongon, a coconut plantation owner in Chumphon province, said that his coconut plantation is 20 Rai, which yielded more than two thousand coconuts a month.
When the price was 12- 25 THB each, his monthly income was more than 20 thousand THB but this has been reduced to only 4 thousand THB. He needs to pay for monkey handlers to harvest the fruit and other costs such as fertilizer and weed prevention and with no remaining profit; he cannot harvest the coconuts.
Traders will not buy the crop as they cannot sell them because of cheap imported coconuts from neighboring countries. Mr. Bancha Saweeyanon says “the price of coconuts has fallen due to rising coconut yields and imports of coconuts from neighboring countries such as, Indonesia, Bangladesh, and Vietnam. They are often illegally smuggled across the border, with imported coconuts more than double the amount produced domestically.”
Coconut farmers say they cannot survive with the current low prices and the cost of water, fertilizer and labour forcing them out of the business. They are demanding that a minimum price be set of around 15 THB per coconut as this production is the main occupation of the Thap Sakae District. In addition, the farmers have said that coconut processing plants delay buying coconuts, resulting in them holding large amounts of produce and coconut milk factories claim that exports have been effected with overseas clients being concerned about the quality of the product.
The Coconut Farmers would like the government to solve the problem as soon as possible by reducing imports. Price guarantees are being sought with a petition to the Prime Minister and Minister of Commerce without responses to date from the government or related agencies. Coconut farmers from around the country have called on the Prime Minister for an urgent resolution to this problem.