Chanthaburi: Fruit producers are hoping a government plan to promote the province as world "mega-city" for fruit will help them have more bargaining power over middlemen.
Welcoming Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to her neighbourhood along the Chanthabun River yesterday, 58-year-old Siripataorn Thanaphurikiatkrai said she hopes the government will help lessen their dependence on merchants or middlemen who are predominantly foreigners, especially Chinese, and who usually have the power to set prices which sometimes are unfair to growers.
She thinks the government should help introduce growers to foreign markets to open a direct channel between growers and buyers to lessen dependence on middlemen.
The premier will today chair a mobile cabinet meeting in the province before he meets representatives from fruit agri-industries and assesses the progress made in his vision for the province, now famous as a national hub of fruits, to be a "fruit mega-city of the world".
Pongthep Jitlikhit, 47, who owns durian and mangosteen plantations said he thinks an all-inclusive, well-managed agricultural centre would help growers.
While visiting the neighbouring eastern province of Trat earlier yesterday, the prime minister gave the green light to seven development projects to bring eco-tourism to Koh Chang and upgrade living standards on the resort island.
He is visiting the East to meet people and politicians, with observers watch every move in light of the impending general election.
Political heavyweights like Chon Buri-based Phalang Chon Party leader Sonthaya Khunpluem and Democrat deputy leader Sathit Pitudecha yesterday denied discussing political issues with Gen Prayut but admitted talking with the prime minister about their proposals to develop a high-tech industrial hub under the much-touted Eastern Economic Corridor scheme.
Gen Prayut yesterday focused on his intention to "hear people's voices and add their opinions about development projects." He declined to comment on general politics.
The premier said he wants all people to join the government in building eco-tourism on Koh Chang, which is famous for its scenic beaches and is rich with natural resources.
At least seven projects are being devised, Gen Prayut said. Two involve better transport on the island, such as new roads and an improved ferry.