The Commerce Ministry is beefing up fruit promotion campaigns to stimulate domestic consumption and offset lower exports of the food, which are being hit hard by the ongoing closure of China's key border checkpoints.
The ministry on Monday kicked off a year-long Fruit Festival 2022, which runs from May to December, through 10,092 points of sale nationwide.
Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit said the ministry expected the volume of fruit sales from the campaigns to hit 145,000 tonnes, worth more than 12.5 billion baht.
According to Mr Jurin, the Internal Trade Department has been also asked to help speed up the distribution of fruit to other provinces and develop linkages between producers and distributors.
This will allow consumers from all around the country to taste quality fruit at more affordable prices, he said.
This year, Thai fruit production is expected to increase by 11% from 2021's season to 5.36 million tonnes, which includes: 1.48 million tonnes for durians, up by 26.2%; 388,000 tonnes for mangosteen, up by 43.3%; 1.69 million tonnes for longan, up by 8.4%; and 300,000 tonnes for rambutan, up by 5.99%.
Lychee production is also expected to increase by 4% to 37,000 tonnes; longgong is set to be up 1% to 77,000 tonnes; and mango production is forecast to rise by 5.24% to 1.44 million tonnes.
Some 30% of fruit production is slated for domestic consumption, with 70% for export.
The Commerce Ministry expects outbound shipments of Thai fruit exports, including fresh, frozen, dried and canned fruits, to grow by 15% this year to reach a value of 287.50 billion baht.
Of the total, 180 billion baht is expected to be derived from China, up 65% from a year before.
Higher shipments have been attributed mainly to strong demand for Thai fruit, alongside higher production in the 2022 harvest season.
However, fruit exports in the first quarter of 2022 fell by 21.26% year-on-year to US$531.6 million.