By Thai Newsroom Reporters
A YOUNG FARMER bitterly accepts the fact that the rambutan which he grows in his backyard in Baan Rai district of Uthai Thani would bring up a good price only if sold at a marketplace as a fruit from far away. Purely for the sake of profits, he has tried hard to restrain himself time and again from crying out loud.
Would there be any immoral, illegal practice or swindling around behind all the trading of a locally-grown crop in disguise of a far-away one? The farmer cannot help wondering though others would shrug off their shoulders, saying it is not quite the case. Indeed, the farmer has already been given a sought-after Good Agricultural Practice certificate from the Department of Agriculture for his rambutan of Rong Rian genus.
He had earlier cultivated corn as a primary agricultural occupation passed on from his forebears in a drought-stricken Huai Haeng subdistrict which literally translates as a creek that runs dry until he finally turned to grow a rambutan orchard which has brought about far more earnings in sales of the fruit.
Having made up his mind to change the crops for profit-making reasons, the farmer used tractors to turn over the surfaces of the usually-parched soil on what used to be his corn field to grow 20 rambutan trees on trial basis and the number has quickly increased 10 times in a four-years period.
All quantities of the freshly harvested rambutan are bound under pre-order dealings between the farmer and regular traders with the ex-orchard prices widely fluctuating between 10 baht and 20 baht a kilogramme.
The farmer happily remarks that each of his rambutan trees yields an average of 200 kilogrammes of the fruit or a range of 500 to 1,000 baht in sales of the fruit per harvest season.
But all the fruits from his orchard are not going anywhere further than marketplaces in his home district and the capital district of the upper Central Plains province where they would usually be sold out in a few days.
The farmer is obsessively embarrassed over the bittersweet sentiment raised by the streetsmart wheeler-dealers that he bury his pride in exchange for a mutual, smooth business and that his Rong Rian rambutan be merely pronounced to their customers as the fruit coming all the way from Surat Thani where its original genus is known to have taken root.
Given the false impression of having been picked from southern orchards, as far as 860 kilometres away, what is indeed a locally-grown rambutan in Uthai Thani could probably fetch nearly twice as much the retail price. Strictly businesswise, the farther ”the distance of transportation” of a merchandise the higher the selling price whereas the locally-grown fruit looks and tastes exactly the same as the far-away one.
Even more bitter to the helpless farmer is the sentiment that the consumer would largely prefer the famous southern rambutan to the relatively low-profiled, locally-grown fruit, regardless of the affordable prices.
Top: Rambutan growing on a tree. Photo: Tourism Authority of Thailand
Home Page: Closeup of fresh rambutans. Photo: Marco Verch, a professional photographer and Twitch streamer in Cologne (CC BY 2.0)