Southern pineapple to go online or go rotten

By Thai Newsroom Reporters

AN ESTIMATED 30 TONNES of pineapple are currently harvested and literally put on roadside sales amidst fears that the fruit might go nowhere from a southern district of Chumphon unless it is all for trading online in the face of the current pandemic situation.

Most pineapple grown by farmers in a little-known Thung Raya subdistrict of Sawee district has been usually put on vending stalls on either side of Petchkasem Road linking Bangkok with the entire southern region. 

Such small quantities of the freshly-harvested fruit would have been sold out in a few weeks had the local market and roadside business not been largely affected by the pandemic situation, commented Sirivan Nakmook, an official attached to Sawee District’s Agricultural Office.

Several other districts of Chumphon and those in the neighbouring Prachuap Khiri Khan are currently yielding large quantities of pineapple, most being destined for canned pineapple factories whereas the pineapple produced by the small subdistrict of Sawee has come out relatively uncompetitive and rarely found its way to those canning factories, according to the official.

The sales of the pineapple of Penang genus have looked quite sluggish and unpromising without travellers on the main southern highway stopping by to buy some from the roadside stalls or at the subdistrict market. 

Roadside stall vendors, many of whom being related or personally close to the pineapple farmers, were apparently running business at loss with a steep decline in daily sales. 

A tonne of pineapple had been dumped from a pickup truck onto Sumalee Chuenjittra’s roadside vending stall but less than 10 kilogrammes of it had been sold to a few customers in a whole week.

Sumalee was not only concerned over the situation in which the pineapple already put on sale might remain untraded and eventually get rotten in the scorching sun but many more truckloads of the fruit were adding up under an usual deal which she had earlier made with a farmer, who happens to be one of her own relatives.

Some of the pineapple might probably be sold off at an incredibly low price as an ingredient for the production of jam and others might be dumped virtually as worthless merchandise, the vendor said.

Nonetheless, farmer Chaovalit Thuengsiapyuan looked undaunted and turned to trading online with the hope of managing to have as much pineapple of his fellow farmers as possible directly delivered to consumers, who may live as far away as in Bangkok and elsewhere in the provinces.

Given the Sawee pineapple which is currently selling for 10 baht a kilogramme, the farmer suggested the consumer see to it that they are purchasing the fruit online at a price exceeding its delivery cost to make it worthwhile.


Some Thai pineapples. Photos: Thai Rath

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