Palm farmers lack refineries to purchase produce

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CHUMPHON, Dec 26 – Palm planters in this southern province, successful in pressing for government intervention to elevate the price they receive for palm nuts, are encountering a new challenge – there are not enough palm oil refineries to buy their produce.

Trucks loaded with palm nuts have queued at all refineries in the province as farmers wait patiently to sell their produce. The price of palm nuts has increased to Bt4-4.35 per kg thanks to the government’s partial subsidy following the farmers’ protest against declining prices.

Farmers said they have to wait a few days to sell their palm nuts to refineries. Those who have no trucks have to sell their produce to middlemen at less than Bt3 per kg.

Chumphon currently has 45,000 palm planters and nine refineries. Planting palm nuts is widespread in many southern provinces of Thailand due to the favourable prices in the last several years plus government encouragement to expand production of the crop.