Thailand: Fruit oversupply raises fear of more price drops

Forecasts that farmers will produce more fruit from their orchards this year are worrying agricultural officials. Generally, everyone is hoping price slumps can be averted. The Office of Agricultural Economics has predicted that 863,258 tons of durian, mangosteen, rambutan and longan will be produced this year in Chanthaburi, Rayong and Trat, the three eastern provinces known as the country’s fruit hub. That’s an increase of 30% from the previous year. Production of longan (lamyai) in the northern provinces, meanwhile, is forecast to increase by 4% to 703,355 tons.

As more fruits start entering the market, officials have started to worry about an oversupply that could push prices down sharply, similar to what happened with pineapples last year. The Commerce Ministry has identified durian, mangosteen, rambutan and lamyai as its main concern as a glut could result in less income for growers.

The Internal Trade Department is looking to hold talks with traders, exporters, big and small store operators and even Thailand Post about measures to cope with a possible influx of the fruits. The department expects exporters, retailers and wholesalers can help absorb some quantities of the four fruits and pass them on to local and foreign consumers.

Last year the oversupply of pineapples was a nightmare for farmers as prices plunged. Many growers grew so frustrated that they gave away their fruit rather than see it rot in their fields.

The good news for pineapple farmers is that production this year is expected to decline by 95,000 tons to 2.2 million, as some have switched to other cash crops, says The Bangkok Post


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