Heartbroken Thai durian farmer cries after trees poisoned, causing 30 million baht loss

Farmer's durian trees poisoned, photo by Sanook.

A heartbroken durian farmer in South Thailand cried after he discovered on Wednesday that most of his trees had been poisoned, causing a long-term loss of around 30 million baht (US$936,000). The farmer, 51 year old Charin Phuachai, lives with his family in Chumphon province, in the Hat Phan Kraj sub-district of the main city district.

Charin had 25 Mon Thong durian trees in his orchard, which are around six to seven years old. But an attack by unknown assailants led to 20 of them starting to die.

Sanook reported that the affected trees had cuts in the trunk that had turned black, and leaves had fallen, leaving bare branches. The fruit had piled up under the trees.

Charin believes that the trees were poisoned with an absorbent type of stump-killing herbicide. The poison is pasted into a cut, and the tree dies after absorbing water. He found that 20 of 25 trees laden with durian had been poisoned.

The farmer was going to harvest the durian in a month and sell them for 160-180 baht per kilogram. He estimated he would earn an income of 600,000 baht (US$18,720) this year, with each tree bringing approximately 20,000 baht (US$624). With the lifespan of a durian tree being 50 years, the 20 dying trees would have generated 30 million baht ($936,000) over the decades.

Charin said he had no conflict with anyone. He added that it would be good if there was an agency to help revive the trees, but he was certain the 20 trees would die because they had been badly poisoned. He said…

“Gardening is not easy. It needs a lot of investment too. It takes time to grow durian. It’s not easy. It’s even more difficult to face problems every round, every month. Do you think that doing this is the right thing? I will forgive you if you confess to me. People can be changed and improved. Don’t let it be your habit. Fix it. it’s not difficult.”

Crime NewsSouth Thailand News

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Tara Abhasakun

A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.