The export value of Thai mangosteens during the first 7 months of 2021 grew by 21.8% from the same period last year. Although export volumes have declined due to a supply disruption caused by a shortage of labor to harvest produce as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak, the output to the market during the months of June to August accounted for more than 76.7% of the whole year's output. KResearch estimates that the value of Thai mangosteen exports in 2021 should be around 540-560 million US dollars, growing by 14.6-18.8%, mainly driven by export prices. In the last four months of this year, the value of fresh Thai mangosteen exports is likely to decline in line with the gradual decrease in output to the market. In terms of competitors, an eye must be kept on Indonesia, whose mangosteen yield is similar to Thailand’s and who is gaining more market share in China. Nevertheless, Thailand will still be able to maintain its dominant market position as Thai mangosteens have a price advantage over their competitors. Thailand is also located closer to China, allowing shipments to be delivered with relative ease and ensuring the freshness and quality of Thai mangosteens, which are already known for their unique taste. Moreover, Thai fruit exporters have strength in the Chinese Market. In the future, if Indonesia can increase its export volume by leaps and bounds, Thailand's competitiveness may be affected. Therefore, the problem in the medium term is to push Thailand to be able to compete in the world market sustainably by researching and developing mangosteen species together with the use of modern agricultural technology.
Although the supply disruption has only a short-term impact and tends to improve, farmers can draw on the lessons of labor shortages that affect mangosteen production and apply them to other crops or fruits in the next season. Harvesting is the most labor-intensive process in agricultural production, accounting for 42.7% of the total labor cost of variable wages. Therefore, KResearch is of the opinion that farmers should have a plan to cope with the potential impact of the shortage of harvesting labor that may arise again to prevent the recurrence of such issues. The Thai government should assume an important role in supporting and allocating the workforce systematically by helping to absorb the production cost in terms of labor and upskilling harvesting techniques in each area as deemed most efficient and advantageous.
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