Thailand to aid fruit exporters impacted by COVID-19, China in highest demand


BANGKOK – Responding to forecasts that the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) will cut the export of fruit, such as durian, mangosteen and rambutan, from 1 million tons to 80,000 tons, the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives has prepared measures for produce sets to enter the market between May and June this year.

Alongkorn Polabutr, advisor to the Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister, explained that if the COVID-19 situation shows signs of abating, the office will step up fruit exports to China at the end of March while also promoting domestic consumption.

The ministry will coordinate with retailers, traders, markets and fuel stations to set up sales areas, which are also to be established at government buildings and at the governor’s offices in supporting provinces. Thailand Post will contribute by aiding in the distribution of fruit and opening an online sales channel.

On financial aid, Mr. Alongkorn said assistance has been requested from the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC), including debt relief and debt restructuring with a three-year interest payment waiver. Loans are also to be offered to farmers, agricultural institutions and operators to shore up their liquidity. (NNT)