By Thai Newsroom Reporters
PAKORN PICHITTHACHAI had long taken pride in the rice which he had only produced to feed fellow villagers of Baan Phaeo district of Samut Sakhon where most rely on fishery, seafood processing industry and other types of manufacturing industry. Not until the last few years had he turned to cultivating a guava orchard in place of what used to be his rice farm.
Pakorn’s rice and that produced by fellow villagers of Lak Sam subdistrict may have represented a tiny percentage of a total volume of rice consumed day in day out by the locals of Baan Phaeo district, but it was comparable to those supplied from elsewhere outside of Samut Sakhon in terms of quality and price.
Nonetheless, the farmer finally made his pride-swallowing decision to quit growing rice and replace it with the Kim Ju guava. At an initial stage of his guava enterprise, covering five rai of farmland, the farmer was considerably daunted by a very low volume of harvest of his fruit, probably due to lack of fertilizers and too much brackish water seeping in the top soil of the coastal province.
Given a predetermined intent to refuse to eat crow, Pakorn has gone through trial and error to make earnings from two harvest seasons of his Kim Ju guava in a year since the last few years.
A secret for the producing of the guava to meet the consumer’s appetite lies in the wrapping of the fruit with a plastic sheet and paper while it is dangling on the tree before harvest, the farmer remarked. The plastic sheet which is the inner layer of the wrapping materials is meant to keep the fruit from raiding insects while the paper, typically being wrinkled scraps of newspapers, is to keep it from being exposed to heat from the sun.
Most of the freshly-picked fruit are sold at an ex-orchard price to a regular trader who sells it for 35 baht per kilogramme at a local marketplace. The selling price undoubtedly rises in proportion to the distance from the producing spot.
Pakorn also sells young branches of the guava tree for grafting at his orchard for anyone who may be interested to grow one.
Now that he has planned to expand his guava plantation as well as to cultivate other fruit trees in his neighbourhood, he has yet to come up with a very good price for adjacent parcels of land to lease from fellow villagers, most of whom would continue to make a living with their long-held rice farming occupation.
Top: Two guava fruits still on the tree. Photo: Arabani (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Home Page: Guava fruit ready to be eaten. Photo: Sanook.com