Rubber to riches: Thai farmer’s organic vegtable transformation yields green profits

Photo: KhaoSod

A 58 year old entrepreneurial farmer in Trang has transformed his four-acre rubber plantation into a thriving organic vegetable garden. Previously, he was earning only 100 baht for 3 kilograms of rubber. Now, his organic vegetable farming generates an income of over 50,000 baht per month from his new endeavour.

The farmer, San Chanchia, residing at House No. 17, Village No. 3, Klong Lu Subdistrict, Kantang District, Trang Province, decided to bring down his four-acre rubber plantation when the price of rubber dropped to 100 baht per 3 kilogrammes. He then switched to growing a variety of vegetables and fruits that he consumes, such as sweet vegetables, morning glory, peanuts, Cha-om, bird faeces bitter gourd, pumpkin, sour starfruit, dragon fruit, angled luffa, krai herb, peanut butter, pomelo, santol, among others.

He started cultivating these on the entire 4-acre land about two years ago, focusing on non-toxic vegetables. He used homemade compost for fertilization and biological substances to trap pests while using leftover leaves to cover the soil surface to retain moisture.

As harvest began, he sold the produce in markets across Trang and neighbouring provinces like Krabi, Nakhon Si Thammarat, and Phuket, earning at least 2,000 baht per day.

This translates to over 50,000 baht per month. Additionally, his family’s health improved as they consumed safe vegetables and exercised while working in the garden. His organic vegetable farming venture turned into a self-sufficient economy learning centre, visited by farmers from across the country. They came to learn, support his produce, and get seeds to expand in their areas.

San said he was interested in growing vegetables because, at that time, the price of rubber had dropped to 100 baht per 3 kilogrammes.

“I decided to cut it down and plant vegetables. After planting vegetables, it gradually got better. Although initially, it was a bit of a struggle as I had to invest all over again, it improved over time. My weekly income is in the tens of thousands of baht. If fruit is abundant, I earn more. The best-selling vegetables are sweet vegetables, Cha-om, and bird faeces bitter gourd. In conclusion, all my vegetables sell well.”

He also shared that initially, customers were sceptical about his claim of non-toxicity. So, he invited them to visit his farm. Two years ago, four to five customers visited his farm, and the news about his organic vegetable farming spread, leading to increased sales. Now, he has customers from several provinces ordering his vegetables for resale, reported KhaoSod.

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Nattapong Westwood

Nattapong Westwood is a Bangkok-born writer who is half Thai and half Aussie. He studied in an international school in Bangkok and then pursued journalism studies in Melbourne. Nattapong began his career as a freelance writer before joining Thaiger. His passion for news writing fuels his dedication to the craft, as he consistently strives to deliver engaging content to his audience.

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