Pineapple is an important economic crop of Prachuab Khiri Khan Province but growers are being hard hit by its falling price in this oversupply year of that has seen the price dropping to 12 baht a kilo.
State agency officials, growers and pineapple processors held an urgent meeting at Prachuab City Hall, led by Prachuab Deputy Governor Chatri Chanveerachai. Some 1,000 tonnes of pineapples a day are arriving at processing plants to be canned.
This glut of fruits is fetching only four to five baht per kilogram at the canneries. President of Thai Farmers Association, Mr Surat Muninthorawong, said Prachuab has a pineapple processing plant and the largest growing area in the country.
Prices being paid here set the level for the national market. Mr Chatri proposed that canning factory operators determine a production plan with growers so that planting and harvesting can be regulated to avoid the current oversupply that has sent prices crashing.
He said that all parties should urgently try find a solution in order to support the steady production of pineapple coming to market from now until the middle of next year. It should be fixed how many pineapples that the factory can buy from farmers and at what price, he said. The Farmers Council asks factories to fix the cannery purchase price at seven baht a kilo so that “both parties can survive.”
No firm conclusion was reached at the meeting as only three canning factory owners were present. All canning operators are invited to meet to set factory purchase price. Cannery operators also said that orders from overseas market have slowed plus a shortage of foreign workers is limiting canning production and reducing the amount fruits to be bought.
The cannery operators said a sustainable industry set price would help solve the problem. The Government should draw up a “farming contract” between canning factories and growers to co-ordinate planting and purchasing.