By Thai Newsroom Reporters
DATE FARMERS IN RATCHABURI have launched online sale of their produce to streamline the freshly-picked fruit under the sustained pandemic situation which has been literally keeping customers away.
Farmer Kirana Chamvecha of Tha Khoey subdistrict of Suan Phueng district has managed to have her dates put for sale online in current harvest season where the domestic pandemic situation has deterred road travel for many who would prefer to visit her orchard and buy the fresh dates at an ex-farm price, which is certainly far lower than the market prices.
About one-third of a total volume of Kirana’s dates has been picked, leaving most in an orchard of about 600 trees unharvested as yet. The woman farmer said she would not pick any more fruits for the time being otherwise they might not be sold in due time under the pandemic-related circumstances.
Despite being situated just about 100 kilometres from Bangkok, Ratchaburi virtually appears out of reach under a lockdown currently enforced in the capital city and surrounding provinces, two of which lie next door to the western province.
Farmer Sommai Satornnum of Rang Bua subdistrict of Chom Bueng district has looked for a few secondhand pickup trucks to rent and carry his dates over to a fruit market on the western suburbs of Bangkok. There used to be street smart dealers coming from all directions to his date orchard to buy the fruit and take it to the markets for wholesale. Now, they have disappeared in the wake of the pandemic-related travel restrictions.
The dates in Sommai’s orchard of 200-plus trees are quickly ripening in the scorching sun, prompting him to find ways and means to put them on sale at the market as the farmer doubted online sale would pan out in good time, let alone quantitatively.
To place a purchase order online is as easy as blinking but the lead time for a reluctant prospective customer might take up several days, if not weeks, the farmer put it, quoting a techno-savvy son.
According to the Office of Agricultural Economics’ Ratchaburi branch, about 130 farmers currently grow date palms in a combined 1,000-plus rai of land mostly in Pak Thor, Baan Kha, Suan Phueng and Chom Bueng districts.
Ratchaburi’s date plantations are expected to yield a combined total of 350 tonnes throughout this year. The fruit is selling for an average of 450 baht per kilogramme at major domestic markets.
Dates growing abundantly on a tree, above, and dried dates, Home Page. Photos: Sanook.com