Supermarkets take on harvest fruit sales
The government is set to sell a combined 16,700 tonnes of fruit worth 762 million baht via five modern trade operators during the harvest season.
Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit said the ministry signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Big C, Tesco Lotus, The Mall, Makro and Tops Market on March 9 to serve as distribution channels for fruit harvested over the next 3-4 months.
Under the MoU, participating modern trade operators have signed 40 purchase contracts with farmers, farmers' groups and community enterprises from Chiang Mai, Lamphun, Nan, Sukhothai, Trat, and Chanthaburi covering nine fruits: tangerines, longan, lychee, rambutan, durian, mangosteen, longkong, zalacca and pineapple.
"The fruit management plan needs urgent adjustment this year thanks to the outbreak," he said. "In previous years, exports would absorb as much as 60% of production. This year we need to focus more on the domestic market, offline and offline sales to help offset lower exports."
Mr Jurin said ministry officials in the provinces have been tasked with selling as much fruit as possible.
Earlier this month the Commerce and Agriculture ministries teamed up to focus on the domestic market, covering production management; distribution channels; business matching among traders, importers and Thai operators; financial support; and safety standards.
Under the plan, the government pledged to offer labour leniency to a certain extent in geographical mobility, particularly for farm workers and fruit pickers; exercise the Price of Goods and Services Act to ensure fair trade competition; and promote contract farming and the linkage between farmers, processors, traders and supermarkets.
Thailand Post will be tasked with handling fruit delivery, with the state subsidising the delivery fee, while producers will be trained on online sales.