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Drought dents Thai exports

  • Drought dents Thai exports

    by Market Insider

    Wednesday, 27 Jul. 2016

    A prolonged heatwave in parts of Thailand this year has cut exotic fruit production and affected quality.

    The Thai fruit export volumes could be down by over 50% this year due to adverse growing conditions; unseasonably hot, dry weather since the beginning of the year has cut the water supplies of fruit farms in parts of the country.

    The weather has affected the exotic fruit crop very badly reducing production and quality; drought conditions continued into May in some areas, causing long-term damage to orchards and, even if it has now started to rain, the water supply is still a big problem and will have a long-term effect on many products.

    Only producer with effective farm irrigation systems and those located in areas which had more plentiful rains managed to fulfil the export orders although some have to be put on hold in part because the hot weather has affected fruit quality; growers are now working with the local authorities on water reserve management to prevent the problem from happening again next year.

    Thailand supply a large range of fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs to the European market, being a major supplier of asparagus, baby-corn, chillies, ginger, lemongrass and lychees among other products to the U.K. and the Netherland.

    The drought and its related problems has come in a difficult moment for the Thai produce industry, which has been the subject of negative national publicity in recent months.

    Reports said that over 50% of the Thai-grown quality-certified fruit and vegetables recenlty sampled in Bangkok were found to have excessive pesticide residues, including some that were branded as organic; the Thai government was also reported by the local press to have introduced export licences this year in a bid to improve the standard of exported Thai produce.

    However, with regards to the pesticide-residues, there are many arguments from all stakeholders on why only negative results were shown while concerning export licences these were established many years ago and the government has already a control system to monitor export products and make sure they are in line with the requirements of importing countries.

    The private sector pointed out that key issue for the Thai exotic produce industry would be rather the necessity to have highly-skilled farmers trained on the international requirements on food safety and it is working for this purpose.

    Source: Freshproduce Journal

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