11 July 2024

Oil palm farmers in Thailand’s southern provinces are complaining that the prices they are getting for their crops have nosedived to an average of five baht per kilogram, which they claim is below their costs, given the high price of fertiliser.

The average 5 baht/kg is not, however, as low as the about 3.11 baht/kg in 2019 and 4.8 baht/kg in 2020. Last year the price was 6.6 baht/kg. The price of fertiliser, meanwhile, has shot up to about 2,000 baht per 100kg sack this year, due to the war in Ukraine, compared to between 700 and 800 baht/100Kg last year.

Warin Suwanrat, an oil palm farmer in Trang province, told Thai PBS that he earned about 3,000 baht from the sale of his raw palm nuts, but had to spend about 10,000 baht to buy fertiliser, because palm trees need fertilising every four months to bear fruit.

He disclosed that some farmers cannot afford fertiliser at all.

Another farmer, Apinya, claimed that the price of raw palm nut has steadily declined during the past month, to only 4baht/kg now, even though not much of the crop has been harvested.

The farmers have called on the Ministry of Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives to address the fertiliser price, but the problem appears to be beyond the control of the government.