A story at MCOT about the Chinese-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (FTA) begins this way:
“Tangerines are one of Thailand’s most important products, a fruit which occupies an important role in the economy.”
Can this be true? It talks of the Fang district in the north in which 34,000 rai are used to grow the little orange devils (and then goes on to say how many farmers are supposed to be cutting down their trees owing to lower profits etc). However, figures I have from one of my students (don’t have the source to hand) indicate that nationwide there were 680,927 rai devoted to growing durian, 487,405 rai given over to growing mangosteen and 373,158 rai used for growing rambutan. I imagine there will also be substantial amounts of land devoted to bananas, pineapples, mangoes, water melons, papayas and so forth.
So, on the face of it, the story starts with something of an exaggeration. Does it matter? OK, so it deals with FTAs and these have become politically divisive in recent years for reasons I have discussed elsewhere. Is that a reason for bias or is it just carelessness. Of course, this is not to minimise any problem faced by the tangerine growers (although they mostly seem to be sanguine enough about switching to another cash crop, since they have done so before). Or should I try and get out of the office more and try to lead a more interesting life?