A market report on tropical dehydrated fruits has observed that Thailand is currently facing a shortage of water supply in many areas. The drought caused by the El Nino phenomenon is affecting the growth of many fruits and key agricultural crops in the country and threatens to shorten the season on pineapple and papaya among others. Although Thailand is supposed to have its rainy season in the starting month of July, there is no way of determining whether it will take place. The QFN Trading and Agency of Netherlands is uncertain as to how farmers will cope with the water shortage during the April – July summer season since the current water reserves will only be enough for household consumption and not agriculture.
Further to that, the US dollar’s fluctuation against other world currencies is another major factor affecting the Tropical dried fruit season. According to the Agency, a 6 to 7% variation of the Thailand baht currency against the US dollar makes it difficult to offer and conclude long term contracts. Apart from that, the world economy continues being unstable affecting demand which will in turn impact the pricing of QFN products. While Thailand’s small crop pineapple season generally runs from May to June, this year’s pineapple season was likely to finish by the end of April 2016. Following this, QFN company predicts this year’s supply of pineapple not to cope with the demand leaving pineapple prices slowly increasing from now on. Therefore, industry users of the dried pineapple are advised to ensure that they conclude the appropriate contracts by end of April. The pineapple season is expected to return late October/September this year.
Unlike the pineapple crop, the pineapple core is expected to be in large supply and available from now on up until the new season. This is as a result of Thailand’s canners who produced large volumes of canned pineapple since end of last year to meet existing contracts. This has left behind a large quantity of the pineapple core from their production. For added colour papaya, the QFN predicts the current raw materials to be available until July, 2016 and it is likely that there will be no problems if the rainy season arrives as normal. However, the current severe water shortage will cause inadequate water in a lot of plantation areas and risk their plants surviving until the rainy season arrives. Meanwhile, it is estimated that raw materials for the natural red papaya will be short for one to two months before the new crop arrives in October 2016. Despite that, a severe water shortage is a major problem to its raw materials in the coming season.
Differently, there will be no shortage during the already started mango season which has been immune to the water shortage. However, the extra cost of energy and labour to maintain water supply has pushed the price slightly higher than it was last year. In this case, production can only be performed until June for mango with no cane sugar added and mango with mango juice premium quality. Consequently, customers are advised by the QFN to keep requirements during the April-May/June 2016 period.

There will also be some three months of stable availability on materials for coconut chips, cantaloupe and star fruit. Others, such as dried apple, peach and pear will also have enough material until the new crop arrives in October. Similarly, the report further speculates that strawberry will have enough raw materials until new crop arrives also in October 2016 with the new strawberry season to start at the end of April/May. However, the company is negotiating with suppliers for better pricing since prices are higher than those of last year.
Source: MITC, 30th May, 2016.