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BANGKOK 24 May 2019 17:09
TallGuyJohninBKK

Organic Market in Ratchapreuk Closes After Short Life

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About a year ago, the BKK Post ran a big feature on a newly opened organic fruit and veggies market that had opened in Ratchapreuk Soi 17 called "En Duherb" (or Enduherb). I was meaning to go there and check it out, but things kept getting in the way until this past weekend... When, I finally made plans for the wife and I to travel out there... But fortunately, we also called ahead to check with them before leaving home.

 

Turns out, it's good we did. Since even though their Facebook page is still active and reachable, the owner told my wife over the phone that they've recently closed because of lack of business there. The owner said something about Thai people not being willing to pay the higher prices associated with organic fruits and veggies. So, En Duherb is gone, apparently less than a year after having opened, since the BKK Post article was June 16, 2018, and it mentioned the place had just officially opened the month before.

 

It's not easy to find quality organic fruits and vegetables in Thailand and even in BKK. And that task is made all the more daunting when a private consumer group that tests fruits and veggies sold in Thailand for pesticides residues found in a recent report that many of the products being sold in markets here as "organic" in fact have detectable pesticide residues, and in many cases beyond the regulatory levels allowed for non-organic products. So, the problem here is, when shopping for fruits and veggies, the Thai government's "organic" certification appears to mean little to nothing at all in terms of safety or quality.

 

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It may likely be a matter of trust as well as pricing. In a country where if one pays enough, they can avoid facing murder charges, how difficult or expensive can it be to get bogus certification to say something is grown organically? 

 

It would be interesting to hear other people's opinions of whether they'd trust organic product labels here or elsewhere. It's a matter of trust anywhere. I can be sure a head of lettuce is a head of lettuce just by looking at it, but other than perhaps a few more imperfections that would be likely on organic produce, how else could I be sure without bringing my pwn pesticide testing kit to the market?

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Posted (edited)

I wouldn't say this was a Thailand-only problem.  In the US things sold as organic usually cost 50-100% more, but there is no way for the consumer to verify that it is so, other than by words.  This is why I won't pay the premium.  It's a matter of faith.

A trucker in the US told me that the organic stuff is loaded onto the trucks along with the other produce, so the pesticides get shaken off and you know some of that is going to land on the otherwise organic stuff.  Sort of self-defeating.  But of course there is the question of what fertilizers were used in growing the stuff.

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by bendejo

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15 minutes ago, Inn Between said:

It would be interesting to hear other people's opinions of whether they'd trust organic product labels here or elsewhere. It's a matter of trust anywhere. I can be sure a head of lettuce is a head of lettuce just by looking at it, but other than perhaps a few more imperfections that would be likely on organic produce, how else could I be sure without bringing my pwn pesticide testing kit to the market?

This is the issue I have with supposedly organic produce in Thailand - as you say, it's very hard to trust that it really is organic. There are so many corners cut in Thailand, especially when money is involved, that it's hard to be sure about much of anything. I don't like being cynical but it's not good when you cannot trust that something is what it is purported to be (and there is no way to verify it).

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It seems like they say everything can kill you nowadays.

 

One way to put my opinion on this, is if i can go to a local Thai market and buy some cheap fruits and vegetables and consume them. If this is the worst thing I am doing I will consider myself quite well off. 

 

I think unless you are growing your own, no matter how much you pay you are basically getting the same quality on a long time line. 

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Posted (edited)
11 hours ago, Inn Between said:

It may likely be a matter of trust as well as pricing. In a country where if one pays enough, they can avoid facing murder charges, how difficult or expensive can it be to get bogus certification to say something is grown organically? 

 

It would be interesting to hear other people's opinions of whether they'd trust organic product labels here or elsewhere. It's a matter of trust anywhere. I can be sure a head of lettuce is a head of lettuce just by looking at it, but other than perhaps a few more imperfections that would be likely on organic produce, how else could I be sure without bringing my pwn pesticide testing kit to the market?

 

There's a private group here called Thai-PAN that periodically does independent, 3rd party lab testing of various veggies and fruits bought at regular Thai wet markets and supermarkets. Normally, they just test regular fruits and veggies. But they also did a survey sometime back specifically on "organic" products bought at both wet markets and commercial supermarkets.  Those were the results I was referring to above where a lot of the labeled "organic" products proved not to be organic at all.

 

I'd be willing to pay a higher price for true organic fruits and veggies here. But I'm not willing to pay a higher price for fake organic stuff that really isn't.  And the problem with the lack of meaningful Thai government regulation and enforcement in this area is there's really no way an average person has to know whether when they buy "organic" that's really what they're getting.

 

That's why, for some time now, I've been buying all my veggies here as frozen and imported from the UK, typically Waitrose brand. They're not "organic" per se, but I'm inclined to believe they're likely of better quality and with lesser chance of excessive pesticides that the stuff being sold locally by Thai growers, who seem to pour on pesticides like other farmers would pour on water.

 

Edited by TallGuyJohninBKK
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