Lime growers in central Thailand pick up guns to patrol for thieves

Lime growers carry rifles, photo by Nation Thailand.

Lime growers in central Thailand aren’t playing around when it comes to protecting their produce.

Lime growers in Kamphaeng Phet province are picking up guns after thieves snatched their limes in broad daylight. The farmers have formed an armed patrol unit to protect their lime gardens from theft after unprecedented price hikes.

Retail prices for lime in Bangkok and major provinces have reportedly risen to 12 baht per fruit. The high price of limes has forced many street vendors to halt selling lime juice. The fruit is a staple ingredient in Thai cooking, with its juice often used in dishes such as som tam and for flavouring fish sauce.

Residents of Moo 5 village in Tambon Nikhom Thung Pho Thalay, in Kamphaeng Phet’s main city district, have resorted to protecting their lime gardens with rifles, because thieves have snuck in to steal the fruit whenever they have lowered their guard.

The head of the village, 59 year old Thut Khammek, said that whenever gardeners left to deliver their produce, thieves would quickly steal the fruits, load them into a bag, and get away with 2,000 baht worth of limes. Thut, therefore, had to form a patrol unit to protect his fruit, Nation Thailand reported. Thut has 7 rai (1.12 hectares) of lime gardens and has made five or six harvests this year, earning several hundreds of thousands of baht.

A vendor at the Kamphaeng Phet main market, 56 year old Yupin Sukrak, said that big limes were selling at 7 baht per lime, and vendors from other provinces came to buy them to resell them at 12 baht. Very small-sized limes, which gardeners normally discarded, could sell for 2 baht per piece. The price of lime this year was the highest in four years, according to Yupin.

Like the village of Moo 5, Yupin’s village of Tambon Thung Pho Thalay in Moo 6 also had a problem with thieves.

Central Thailand NewsCrime News

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.

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