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Thai tangerine producers affected by ASEAN-China FTA

Tangerines are one of Thailand’s most important products, a fruit which occupies an important role in the economy. Since the free trade agreement between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China, one of the world’s primary tangerine growers, took effect January 1, the fruit is among a number of crops adversely affected in Thailand by the pact.

Fang district in the northern province of Chiang Mai has been known as a centre for tangerines of the Sainampueng variety for almost 10 years. This type of citrus fruit is of better quality compared to other types planted in the country in terms of its taste, texture, colour, and juice quantity.

In Fang district over 34,000 rai (or 13,600 acres) are planted in orchards of Sainampueng tangerines, yielding a harvest of some 150,000 tonnes annually, and generating over Bt3 billion (US$90 million) for the fruit producers, who mainly sell their produce to local markets.

However, due to the ASEAN-China Free Trade Agreement which allows cheaper Chinese tangerines imported with a zero-percent tariff to Thailand and unfavourable conditions of Thai tangerine orchards as a result of outbreaks of plant contagion, a number of local tangerine growers were forced to sell their fruit for prices as low as Bt7 (21 cents) per kilo. Consequently some growers believed themselves to cut down their fruit trees by at least 50 rai (20 acres) after last year’s harvest season.

They said it would take them at least another 3-5 years to become tangerine farmers again.


Publication date: 2/25/2010


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