Farmers’ ally: Captain Thamanat vows to sow out smuggling of agricultural goods

Photo courtesy of Bangkok Post.

Captain Thamanat Prompow, the Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives, yesterday announced a crackdown against the smuggling of agricultural products into Thailand. The illicit activity, Thamanat points out, has led to a decrease in the price of locally produced goods, negatively affecting the livelihood of local farmers.

The widespread agricultural smuggling of frozen pig carcasses, in particular, has been detrimental to the local pig farmers, as these illegal imports have flooded the local pork market, leading to a significant drop in pork prices. The minister emphasised the urgency of implementing strong measures to combat this issue, which has exacerbated the already dire situation of low farm product prices.

The Department of Special Investigation (DSI), in collaboration with the Customs Department, is deliberating over the confiscated smuggled frozen pig carcasses, discovered in 161 cargo containers at Laem Chabang Port. DSI director-general, Police Major Suriya Singhakamol, stated that the seized carcasses are likely to be transported from the port and buried in the Khlong Hat district of Sa Kaeo province between September 25 to 29. The chosen burial site is conveniently located near Sa Kaeo’s animal feed research and development centre and within a short distance from the port.

Furthermore, a special investigation team, set up specifically for this agricultural smuggling case, has summoned witnesses for interrogation. According to Suriya, these witnesses include representatives from the 19 freight companies that were contracted to ship the illicit pig carcasses into Thailand. Additionally, 11 shipping companies, found to be involved in the illegal shipment of these products, have been raided.

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In response to criticism of the government’s new agricultural policies, Captain Thamanat reassured that a clearer understanding will emerge once detailed operation plans are drafted, complete with budgetary planning.

Critics have voiced concerns that the agricultural policies presented to Parliament are vague and may not effectively address the primary issues plaguing the farming sector. Thamanat confirmed that each ministry will begin drafting detailed plans for implementation over the next four years to curb agricultural smuggling, reported Bangkok Post.

The minister yesterday received a written proposal from the Community Rice Centre Association (Thailand) offering solutions to tackle the high production costs and low product prices in the sector. The association highlighted that the agricultural sector’s competitiveness is at its lowest point in two decades, primarily due to high production costs and lower product yields compared to other countries.

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Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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