More than 1,500 pineapple growers on Friday gathered in front of the Farmer Market Centre on Petchakasem highway at Ban Auo Noi in Prachuab Khiri Khan to wait for outcome of the meeting of National Pineapple Committee.
The pineapple farmers came from Prachuab Khiri Khan, Rayong, Chonburi, Uthai Thani, Kanchanaburi and Ratchaburi. They brought with them about 34 pickup trucks fully loaded with pineapples.
The pineapple farmers said the rally today was aimed at calling for the government to help settle the problem of low pineapple price, now only three baht a kilogramme.
The farmers said they would not rally at the provincial city hall but will gather at the centre until the outcome of the pineapple meeting at the ministry of agriculture and cooperatives is known.
If the meeting agreed to approve a budget of 800 million baht to buy 100,000 tonnes of pineapple out of the market to reduce supply of the fruit as proposed, the pineapple farmers would peacefully disperse. Otherwise, the rally will be intensified and the Petchkasem highway, a main route to the South, could be blocked, said the farmers.
Prachuab Khiri Khan governor Veera Sriwattanatrakul told the framers not to block the highway as it would bring about hardship to commuters. Mr Veera asked them to wait for the meeting’a result late this after noon. He was confident that the government will provide assistance to pineapple growers as called for.
Police chief of the province, Pol Maj Gen Vichian Tantaviriya led more than 400 policemen, including a riot control unit, to maintain law and order at the rally site and nearby areas.