Measures being taken to cope with oversupply of pineapple in Chiang Rai

Both short-term and long-term actions will be taken to solve the problem of oversupply of pineapple in the northern provinces of Chiang Rai, according to governor Narongsak Osotthanakkorn.

The measures were meted out in a recent meeting of agencies concerned in the province.

Under the short-term measures, all government offices in the province have been instructed to buy pineapple and distribute the fruit for sales at various department stores and retail shops. A pineapple eating week will be held on July 4-6 to help farmers.

Under the long-term measures, the provincial authority will find ways of setting up pineapple processing plants in the province, to which farmers can directly sell their produce. In addition, the farmers will be urged to enter contract farming with a price insurance to guarantee that pineapple price is not too low.

Chiang Rai farmers have begun to grow pineapple in 2015. Although in that year Thailand had problem with drought, pineapple grew well as the plants do not need much water. The pineapple price once rose to 18-20 baht per kilogramme.

At present, the area for growing pineapple in Chiang Rai has expanded to 67,000 rai, leading to the problem of oversupply.

This year, pineapple produced in the province is expected to be near to 200,000 tones. As a result, the price has dropped to 1-2 baht per kilogramme. Some farmers have decided to leave their produce to rot. Augmented by the costs of fertilisers, pesticides and land rentals, pineapple farmers stand to suffer a great loss this year.

Supaporn Duangkaew, a pineapple grower, said in a Facebook page that her Nang Lae and Phu Lae pineapple is left unsold this year although the price is very low as nobody wants to buy it. She called for government offices concerned to help.

Somsuay Panyasit, deputy director-general of the Agricultural Extension Department, said the weather which is suitable for growing pineapple in the province is partly to blame for the oversupply. He said areas for growing pineapple may have to be restricted.

Associate Professor Dr. Nuttha Potapohn, dean of the Faculty of Agriculture of Chiang Mai University, said the oversupply problem has happened not only with pineapple but also with other produce such as rubber. Government agencies concerned should provide information to farmers and impose restrictions on areas for growing some plants.