Nine months ago, Suthin Kayachart, a 44-year-old farmer in tambon Pak Khom of Trang’s Huai Yot district, decided to plant grapevines on a quarter rai (about 400 square metres) of his 10-rai rubber plantation – even as other southern farmers never followed through on the chance to capitalise on the hot, wet climate.
Mr Kayachart planted five strains of grapevines in greenhouses, and soon harvested a 60 kilogram yield that sold for up to B250 per kilogramme. He also sold cuttings at B250 apiece.
With spirits raised by the quick results, his family is now expanding the vineyard to cover one rai of farmland, and hopes to harvest a tonne of grapes.
Mr Kayachart’s achievement has not gone unnoticed. His family is now welcoming about 1,000 people a day, including tourists and farmers – both from nearby provinces and even as far away as Thailand’s North – eager to learn the recipe of his success.
Mr Suthin has developed techniques to increase productivity, and uses organic fertilizers and pesticides. Other farmers have placed more orders for cuttings than Mr Suthin can fill – seeing the economic potential of turning rubber into wine.
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