SOME 10,000 tonnes of longans will be sent to China under a deal with Alibaba Group’s Tmall online platform.
The Internal Trade Department signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the popular e-marketplace for the shipments over two months.
The department is also joining with Thailand Post and the Cooperative Promotion Department to provide longans to the domestic market, expecting to supply about 500 tonnes by August 24.
Boonyarit Kalayanamit, director general of the Internal Trade Department, said that the arrangement with Tmall would help longan farmers to expand their sales to the international market.
Under the MoU, the department will be the facilitator in providing the longans to the Chinese market for the two months.
It is also in talks with another giant e-commerce operator, JD.com, to distribute Thai fruit via the latter’s online channels to the international market.
Boonyarit said that, for the longan sales in the home market, it is working with the Cooperative Promotion Department and Thailand Post, with options for counter-based and online sales.
The department is also working with modern trade retailers to provide longans via this channel. With this range of sales channels, the goal of distributing 500 tonnes of the fruit is expected to be met.
Cherdchai Promkaew, deputy director general of the Cooperative Promotion Department, said the department would be a facilitator to liaise between the farmers and the 13 agriculture cooperatives that want to help bring the longans to the market.
The department by end of this year will help farmers deliver other types of fruits to the market, including rambutan and mangosteen. It also plans to help farmers sell bananas via Thailand Post next year.
Smorn Terdthumpiboon, president of Thailand Post, said that under the collaboration, the Thailand Post will deliver the longans to support customers nationwide, with delivery within three days. An order for AA premium grade longans of 3 kilograms will be priced at Bt160. An order of 5 kilograms will cost Bt250 with free delivery. The service will be available until August 24.
She said that Thailand Post has joined with the Thapupha agricultureal cooperative in Lumphun province under an eight-year deal to distribute longans via Thailand Post’s counters nationwide and its online channel.
The agency last year sold more than 200 tonnes of longans from the Thapupha- agriculture cooperative to the home market. For this year, it expects to see a growth in sales.
Thailand Post this year will also distribute other kinds of fruit, such as melon, durian and pomelo, via its traditional and online marketplace channels.
“I think that the collaboration among government agencies will help farmers to distribute their fruit at a good price and create alternative choices for customers to order local fruit.
This will support their demand at an affordable price for premium-grade fruit,” said Smorn.
Each year farmers produce more than one million tonnes of longans, with exports making up 40 per cent, dried fruit 40 per cent and the rest for the home market.