Three major orange orchards seized in Chiang Mai

Three major orange orchards seized in Chiang Mai

A woman examines citrus fruit for sale at a market in Charoen Krung road in February 2016. (Bangkok Post file photo)
A woman examines citrus fruit for sale at a market in Charoen Krung road in February 2016. (Bangkok Post file photo)

The Agricultural Land Reform Office (Alro) is seizing a total of 5,933 rai of orange orchards in Fang and Mae Ai districts of Chiang Mai from three large companies that have been using the land without ownership documents.

The companies have been found to be illegally occupying the Sor Por Kor land - title deeds the government allocates to poor farmers  for land which is not to be bought or sold.

Alro chief Sompong Inthong led a team to inspect the orange plantations, owned by Thanathorn Orchard, Amornmit Orchard, and Chiang Mai Mit Kaset (Sai Thong Orchard), acting on an order issued by the National Council for Peace and Order on Oct 19.

The orchardists claimed the land was owned by around 90 farmers, but the farmers denied this.  

The total inspected area covered 6,300 rai, of which 5,933 rai, about 94%, will be seized.

The lands to be seized are - Thanathorn Orchard, 2,144 rai; Amornmit Orchard, 502 rai; and Chiang Mai Mit Kaset Orchard, 3,287 rai. 

Mr Sompong said the office would then set up a cooperative to manage the orchards, which would be owned by  Arlo. The cooperative should be in place by April or May next year.

The cooperative would continue to hire around 300 workers employed at the orchards by the three companies.

"They will be able to work in the orchards as in the past. The earlier owners will become buyers of harvested oranges from the cooperative. The payroll will be met by the cooperative,”  Mr Sompong said. 


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