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Pineapple growers block highway

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It was pineapples, not floods, that finally blocked the main route from Bangkok to the South as pineapple growers stepped up pressure on the government to raise prices for their produce. 

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Pineapple growers await the results of talks about the falling price of their fruit after they dumped tonnes of pineapples on the Phetkasem Highway in Prachuap Khiri Khan’s Muang district yesterday. CHAIWAT SATYAEM


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Pineapple growers block highway

PRACHUAP KHIRI KHAN: Disgruntled pineapple growers who dumped thousands of their fruit on the main highway to the South yesterday have persuaded the government to meet their demands.

More than 500 pineapple growers dumped truckloads of the fruit on the Phetkasem Highway in Prachuap Khiri Khan's Muang district.

They blocked the main road linking Bangkok with the South at Bo Nok intersection about 1pm to protest against low pineapple prices.

They demanded Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra meet them and guarantee the government would buy their fruit at 4 baht a kilogramme.

The angry farmers were the second group to occupy the road that day.

In the morning, a group of about 4,000 pineapple growers blocked the highway at Ban Aou Noi in Muang district.

They dumped 5 tonnes of pineapples on the inbound lanes to Bangkok of the Phetkasem Highway between kilometre markers 314 and 315 in Prachuap Khiri Khan.

The farmers were unhappy with the wholesale price of 3 baht a kilogramme and believed reducing supply would drive up prices.

Pineapple canneries had also announced they would stop buying pineapples starting yesterday due to a drop in demand from overseas.

The first group of growers dispersed and reopened the road to traffic after Prachuap Khiri Khan governor Veera Sriwattanatrakul told them an urgent meeting of the National Pineapple Committee had agreed to allocate 800 million baht to buy 200,000 tonnes of surplus pineapples from the market, as they had demanded. They dispersed at half past noon.

Less than half an hour later, the second group of about 500 pineapple farmers occupied the highway. They were afraid they would not benefit from the deal because they were not registered with any pineapple cooperative or association. Their protest prompted the governor to hold more talks with them.

Mr Veera told the protesters the National Pineapple Committee's budget allocation would also be used to buy surplus fruit from them. But the pineapple growers were not convinced by his promise. They demanded a meeting with the prime minister.

The governor left after the talks failed. The protesters then dumped truckloads of pineapples on the road. Traffic was clogged for tens of kilometres.

Wirat Tomol, chairman of the pineapple growers group in Prachuap Khiri Khan, said canneries told him they would resume buying pineapples on Tuesday.

dump – to get rid of ทิ้ง
block – to stop someone/ something from moving through or along something else  ปิดกั้น, กีดขวาง
disgruntled – disappointed and annoyed about something ซึ่งทำให้ไม่พอใจ, ซึ่งทำให้ขุ่นเคือง
persuade – to make someone agree to do something by giving them reasons why they should โน้มน้าวใจ เกลี้ยกล่อม
intersection – a place where roads, lines, etc., join or cross each other สี่แยก
guarantee – to promise someone that they will have something or will get something รับประกัน
occupy – to be in control of a place that you entered by force as a group ยึดครอง
inbound – travelling towards a particular point, particularly into a city ขาเข้า (opposite of outbound ขาออก)
lane – one of the parts that a wide road or motorway is divided into, marked by painted lines and intended for one line of traffic ช่องทางเดินรถ
wholesale – relating to the business of selling large quantities of goods, especially to people who are going to sell them in a shop ขายส่ง
reduce – to make something smaller or less in amount, size, importance etc ลดลง
cannery – a factory where food is put into cans โรงงานบรรจุอาหารกระป๋อง
due to – because of เนื่องจาก
disperse – (of a crowd of people) to separate and leave in different directions  สลายฝูงชน
urgent – needing to be dealt with immediately ที่เร่งด่วน
allocate – to officially give out an amount of or share of something แบ่งส่วน
surplus – more than is needed เหลือเกิน, ส่วนที่เกิน
benefit – to recieve an advantage ได้รับประโยชน์
deal – a formal agreement, especially in business or politics การตกลงซื้อขาย, ข้อตกลง, การซื้อขาย
register – to put your name and other information on an official list in order to be allowed to do something, e.g., vote, study, stay in a hotel etc ลงทะเบียน
cooperative – a business or farm owned and run by the people involved, with the profits shared by them สมาคมสหกรณ์
prompt – to cause someone to take action กระตุ้น
budget – an amount of money able to be spent on something งบประมาณ
convinced – certain; sure แน่ใจ, มั่นใจ
clogged – blocked, so that nothing can get through ตัน
resume – to begin again after stopping for a period of time  เริ่มอีกครั้ง, กลับมาอีกครั้ง

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