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Nothing as sweet as incentives for Phuket pineapples

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET Governor Maitri Inthusut has underlined his commitment to developing the island’s pineapple industry, having confirmed a budget of 1.1 million baht to train local farmers and expand the available growing area in Thalang.

On January 31, Governor Maitri led officers on an inspection tour to harvest and sample pineapples from the plantation of Wichai Saetun at Baan Bang Roang in Pa Khlok.

“Mr Wichai is the president of the local pineapple farmers’ association and received the Geographical Indication (GI) certification from the Ministry of Commerce in November 2007, showing that his Phuket pineapples are uniquely different from other provinces,” said Gov Maitri.

In the past few years, Phuket’s pineapples, known as yanut in the Southern Thai tongue, have gained a reputation in the domestic market.

“Phuket’s pineapple is distinct from those in other provinces. Our pineapple has its own unique smell and taste: sweet and fresh,” said Gov Maitri. “The uniqueness is a result of ideal weather conditions and granite-infused soil.”

Although there are already numerous pineapple farms on the island, there is not enough fruit produced to meet demand here. The government still has to import them from other provinces, he said.

“I decided to allocate 1.1mn baht from the provincial strategy budget on this project to support local farmers and increase the number of pineapples we produce on the island,” Gov Maitri Inthusut explained.

Phuket has 2,530 rai of pineapple gardens that employ about 40 to 50 farmers and their families, he added. Gov Maitri clarified that the 1.1mn baht budget will be used to increase land allocated for pineapples, as well as for organizing training courses to teach farmers how to improve the quality and value of their products.

The project will emphasize adding value to products and services; for example, producing pineapple jam, pressed fruit rolls (saparod kuan) and pineapple juice, as well as the facilitation of pineapple harvesting itineraries for tourists.

“Once the project is underway, I expect that more local farmers will become interested in pineapple farming. Pineapples take 15 months to grow and will be sold for 15 baht each,” he added. “These plantations are one more way to generate money for farmers and for the island.”

Governor Maitri is also exploring the prospect of developing Phuket’s goat farming sector (video story here), which he plans to make a priority for the 2015 fiscal budget.

According to the governor, the Phuket provincial development strategy budget for the 2014 fiscal year of about 126 million baht will be allocated for a number of economic, infrastructure and agricultural projects.

In addition to pineapples, the government plans to subsidize projects this year to promote the rubber and rice (1.4mn baht) and lobster (1.96mn baht) sectors, working from an agricultural stimulus package totaling 4.46mn baht.

— Saran Mitrarat

 

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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