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Heat Wave and Drought Threaten Eastern Thailand’s Durian Harvest

May 12, 2024

According to Thai media reports, Thailand’s Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives Thamanat Prompow has ordered government officials to provide assistance to durian farmers in the eastern part of the country as the prolonged drought is threatening to spoil the durian crop just as the main part of the harvest season is beginning.

The growing season in Chanthaburi province, one of Thailand’s main durian-producing regions, typically lasts from March to June. However, local temperatures have been hovering around 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) for weeks and the ensuing drought has shortened the harvesting period. Farmers in several areas have reported that the hot weather has caused unpicked durians to split open on the trees. Moreover, some farmers have been forced to purchase truckloads of water to irrigate their farms.

One durian farmer in Chanthaburi explained that the ongoing drought caused wells to dry up some time ago. To irrigate the 1.6 hectares she cultivates, she reported requiring 10 trucks carrying a total of 120,000 liters of water. In the current weather, she needs to irrigate her fields every other day, leading to irrigation costs totaling thousands of dollars. Durians are priced based on weight and size, but the recent high temperatures have also accelerated the ripening process, resulting in durians of poor size and quality.

Thailand’s Royal Irrigation Department has been instructed to supply water to the farms, while officials from the Department of Agricultural Extension have been told to provide guidance to help farmers cope with the dry conditions. Rapibhat Chandarasrivongs, director-general of the Department of Agriculture, said that he had asked agricultural offices in the affected areas to investigate the extent of the damage caused by the drought and advise farmers how to respond.

According to the Department of Agricultural Extension, many durian varieties in eastern Thailand are now ready for harvest. Harvesting of Chani and Puang Manee durians began on April 5, followed by the Kradum Thong variety on April 15. Monthong, the most popular durian variety, is expected to be ready for harvesting from May 20.

Image: Pexels

This article was based on a Chinese article. Read the original article.

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