Re: “Pineapple farmers to sell crops in PTT stations nationwide”, Around Thailand, June 6.
PTT allows pineapple growers to sell their produce at its petrol stations around the country without any fee.
It is helpful to pineapple farmers able to use PTT stations as a market place for their surplus crop. Pineapple farmers last year and this year have encountered very poor prices, as low as Bt2.2 per kilo, when they had to invest about Bt4.6 per kilo.
Those in the pineapple business currently face severe hardship. Pineapple farmers are having let their crops rot in the fields, hand them out for free, sell below cost price or even sell by the roadside. Inevitably, they are losing a lot of money. When pineapple is compared to durian, why the two situations look like chalk and cheese.
Three years ago, pineapple prices hit average highs of about Bt10 per kilo. That stimulated more farmers to plant a huge amount of pineapples, resulting in oversupply and plummeting prices that averaged Bt3 per kilo for the first half of this year.
Farmers will now be quitting pineapple cultivation in droves. The result is predictable: a pineapple shortage and sharp price rise, which will encourage farmers to turn back to plant pineapples again. The cycle will continue.
It is sad that Thailand has achieved a reputation as the world’s No 1 exporter of canned pineapple and pineapple juice based on the cyclical failure of unstable pineapple prices.
The challenge for Thailand is how to turn failing pineapple farmers into successful pineapple exporters.