Sornkhiri Buajaeng and his wife, Sunaree Meemak, on Friday (June 22) put one tonne of their produce in a pickup truck and drove from their orchard in Ban Kha district to the Khao Prathab Chang Wildlife Feeding Centre in Chom Bung district of Ratchaburi province to donate the fruit to wild animals.
The couple said they decided that donating the fruit would be bettrer than watching it rot at home.
Their decision reflects growing unhappiness among growers with the glut of fruit that has sent prices tumbling.
“Sales this year are very bad because the price is very low,” said Ms Sunaree, who grows pineapples on 30 rai of land.
Pineapple processing plants in the first five months of this year were paying an average of B3.14 per kilogramme, a 50% drop from B6.29 last year, according to the Office of Agricultural Economics.
Even worse for those in the business, the average selling price of pineapples for consumption has also averaged B3.14 per kg, compared with B12.28 a year ago. But in some areas such as Chaiyaphum, pineapples are selling for as little as two baht per kilogramme.
The Agriculture Ministry has blamed the low prices on an oversupply. It did not give production statistics for this year but last year the country produced 2.5 million tonnes of pineapples.
The plunging prices are affecting 40,000 farmers in 46 provinces. Prachuap Khiri Khan is the country's top pineapple-growing province, followed by Ratchaburi, Phetchaburi, Rayong and Chon Buri, according to statistics from the Agricultural Extension Department.
In a bid to alleviate the problem, provincial governors and other agencies have been ordered to promote consumption, while the Commerce Ministry has been directed to find new markets.
Other promotional activities in recent weeks have been aimed at helping the farmers. Wat Phothiyan in Muang district in Phitsanulok bought five tonnes of the fruit on Wednesday to give away to visitors to the temple. On June 1, Royal Thai Army officers in Khon Kaen bought seven tonnes from farmers in Prachuap Khiri Khan to give to soldiers on duty in the northeastern province.
As authorities step up efforts to assist farmers, the ministry believes their pain will be eased soon. Prices should improve from now as more than 60% of the crop came onto the market during the first half of the year, said Vinaroj Supsongsuk, the secretary-general of the Office of Agricultural Economics.
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