Thailand’s pineapple harvest is the lowest in 10 years
Thai pineapple harvest falls to the lowest level in a decade, which can be explained by a low fertilizer supply and poor rainfall. However, demand for pineapples in Asia and Europe remains strong, which may lead to higher prices.
Thailand’s production is shrinking
Thai farmers reduced their pineapple planting area due to a higher cost of production, mainly caused by more expensive fertilizers and lack of labor in some areas. These are problems that have continued from the 2022 harvest. Some farmers have even switched from planting pineapples to other crops that can provide a higher income.
Cassava, for example, has been a replacement crop that requires less chemical fertilizer application. Cassava root prices are also high, providing better returns for farmers.
Analysts initially expected pineapple production to reach 1.7 million tons. However, farmers used less fertilizer to save costs, resulting in lower yields. As a result, pineapple production is expected to reach between 1.2 and 1.30 million tons, which is ten percent lower than the previous year. The yield is 3.8 kg/rai which is -0.9% on an annual basis. Rai is a Thai unit area equivalent to 0.00016 hectares.
The pineapple harvest should start immediately. We expect a huge volume to be harvested in April (before the Thai Holiday -Songkran) until June, of about 0.6 million tons, equivalent to 38% of Thailand’s production. Another 24% of the crop, equivalent to 0.4 million tons, will be harvested in November and December. There is still time for the weather to improve the harvest if there is enough rain in the middle of the year.
Many factors including weather and fertilizer can affect pineapple quality. When there is not enough rain, the pineapple fruit is not as sweet because the rain dilutes its sugar content and changes the nitrate parameters.
Moreover, when farmers use less fertilizer, the pineapple cannot develop to its maximum size. As a result, pineapple quality decreases.
There is still a strong demand for pineapples from Asia and Europe. Pineapple prices at the beginning of March 2023 have risen to 7.71 THB/kg, which is 13 percent higher this time last year.
Historic pineapple price
The Thai crop shortage could lead to strong pineapple prices for the rest of 2023. This could be an opportunity for pineapple producers to improve their production, encourage farmers to expand their planting area and potentially attract future engagements involving Thai pineapple around the world.
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