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Explosive Exposé: Black Market Products Invasion in Thailand Threatens Local Farm Economy – Survival or Collapse?

Without a doubt, the agricultural industry in Thailand is facing a great challenge. The country’s Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister, Capt Thamanat Prompow, boldly called attention to the rampant smuggling of farm products that seep into the Thai market. The rise of illegal products has inevitably molded the country’s economy, creating unfavorable conditions for local farmers. An example brought to light by the minister is the smuggling of frozen pig carcasses, which has dramatically influenced the local pork market, leading to an unexpected dip in the trade price.

Indeed, these unlawful activities proliferate amid low prices of farm goods and decisive, firm actions need to be taken. Minister Prompow emphasized on an urgent need to heighten measures in combatting this transgression to salvage the situation and protect the local market.

Recently, the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) has been deliberating with the Customs Department on handling the confiscated smuggled frozen pig carcasses discovered within 161 shipping containers at Laem Chabang Port. Director of DSI, Pol Maj Suriya Singhakamol, stated that these seized carcasses would likely be moved from the port and be buried in Khlong Hat district of Sa Kaeo province. The scheduled burying period falls between September 25th and 29th.

The chosen burial site keeps a strategic distance from Sa Kaeo’s animal feed research and development centre and the port. To facilitate the investigation, a special team has been formed and witnesses have been summoned for questioning. Notably, the freight companies – all 19 involved in shipping pig carcasses into Thailand – came under scrutiny. Additionally, 11 shipping companies suspected of having a hand in the shipment of illegal goods have also been raided.

Captain Thamanat did not turn a blind eye to criticism of the new government’s agriculture policies. He responded by stating that a more detailed image of how these policies will be executed will come into light once operation plans, coupled with budget plans, are drafted. Critics have voiced concerns that the proposed agriculture policies may lack depth and fail to tackle the primary issues the agriculture sector faces.

Soon, each ministry will embark on designing detailed plans to be carried out in the following four years. The minister also acknowledged a written proposal from the Community Rice Centre Association of Thailand that targets tackling the high production costs and low product prices in the sector.

According to this group, the competitiveness of Thailand’s agricultural sector has plummeted, reaching its lowest point in two decades. This decline is largely due to enhanced production costs and lower product yields compared to other countries. If nothing is done to address these major challenges, the prospect of the agricultural sector will remain threatened.

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