Boosting Consumption of Thai Fruit (14/08/2012)
The Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives is organizing a fruit fair to promote the consumption of Thai fruit, especially from northern and southern Thailand.

The fair, “North Meets South 2012: Miracle of Thai Fruits,” takes place at the CentralWorld shopping complex in Bangkok on 14-16 August 2012, from 10:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

It features contests of fruit eating and fruit preparation by chefs from leading hotels and an exhibition of Thai fruits and their nutritional value and medicinal properties. About 10,000 people are expected to visit the three-day fruit fair, with more than 60 booths.

Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Theera Wongsamut, said that between August and September each year, several varieties of Thai fruit are flooding the market. The Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives believes that the production of fruit from the northern and southern regions this year will increase significantly.

For instance, the northern region is expected to produce 467,000 tons of longan during this season, when 80 percent of the output is found in abundance from July to August. Longan is consumed fresh, dried, frozen, and canned.

As for the southern region, the production of four varieties of fruit, namely durian, rambutan, mangosteen, and longkong, or dugu, is expected to reach more than 362,000 tons, an increase of 45 percent over the same period of 2011. Longkong, in particular, is the most famous fruit and a cash crop in the three southern border provinces, namely Yala, Pattani, and Narathiwat. The season for longkong usually starts in June and continues to August or even to the end of the rainy season in October.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, out of 6.5 million farm families in Thailand, about two million are engaged in orchard farming. The Ministry is accelerating the release of various kinds of fruit from producing areas in order to boost fruit consumption elswhere. For example, longkong festivals will be held in Chiang Mai and Phitsanulok provinces in the Nnorth, while longan festivals will take place in Songkhla and Phuket provinces in the South.

Fruits are not just a kind of food for Thai people, but a part of everyday life. They are diverse, delicious, and popular among consumers and vary according to the season. Today many kinds of Thai fruit are available any time of the year. They also promise delightful sensations not found anywhere else. Thailand is one of the major fruit countries exporting not only to the regional markets but also to the world at large.

Several varieties of Thai fruit have medicinal properties to fight certain diseases. For instance, mangosteen contains a substance that is resistant to viruses and may reduce hypertension. Rambutan is believed to help cure diarrhea, while durian is high in calcium and phosphorus.

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