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Maizefarmer

Growing Makua in Thailand

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Between 2/3 and 3/4 of the retail price at the time -remeber it changes according to the avaliblilty and can do so on a daily basis - genrally alot higher in the dry season.

It you find the price is real low at any one time - then start picking the flowers off the plant before they turn into fruit. It conserves energy for the plant leaving it with an enhanced yield potential when the price starts to rise.

Also means you are not going to have to spend money on paying labour to harvest a crop that is not earning much.

Tim

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Maizefarmer, thanks again for all your valuable help. I guess the thread did get hijacked from the original topic,

A little hijacking now and then is good. How else can you find out about a subject that never occured to you? I am intrigued by the makua info and I never would have thought it could be so promising. I had a slight interest in rubber since I was almost caught up in it at one time but after reading more it doesn't sound so good unless it is already planted and at least a few years old.

I know it would frustrate me if I started a tree topic and everyone started talking about vegetables so I will start a new makua topic.

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MF, There are a few question marks left in my figures.

All figures based on 1 rai for simplicity.

Setting up the irrigation system. I figure about 700 drippers at a cost of 10,000 - 11,000 baht. I'm not currently in Thailand so could someone give me an idea how much the piping costs (flexible rolls and the solid blue)? Isangeorge guestimated 30,000 total and that's what I have used in my figures so far. Too high, too low? I also added 12,000 for misc costs, tilling, fertilizer, chemicals. Good guess or not?

Sale price. I believe you said average 15 - 20 baht/kg and in another post you mentioned the wholesale is about 25% - 33% below retail. My question is was the 15 - 20 what you get from your wholesaler or average retail from which an adjust ment for wholesale price needs to be made? I believe that is retail price but want to confirm that.

I was also wondering how long makua will produce before having to start with new plants.

I am thinking about buying about 20 rai in the next couple of years with a garden and fish pond in front of the house and some kind of farm on the back 15 or so rai. Makua seems like a good option so far but I would like to get a clear picture of startup costs.

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don't worry about hijacking the thread on my account, i started it a few weeks ago, and now i am becoming more fascinated with makua than i am with rubber trees, you live and learn.

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I've split this out of it's original topic's, as there seems to be a lot of intrest in it. Sorry if the post look a little disjointed

Edited by RamdomChances

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MF, There are a few question marks left in my figures.

All figures based on 1 rai for simplicity.

Setting up the irrigation system. I figure about 700 drippers at a cost of 10,000 - 11,000 baht. I'm not currently in Thailand so could someone give me an idea how much the piping costs (flexible rolls and the solid blue)? Isangeorge guestimated 30,000 total and that's what I have used in my figures so far. Too high, too low? I also added 12,000 for misc costs, tilling, fertilizer, chemicals. Good guess or not?

Sale price. I believe you said average 15 - 20 baht/kg and in another post you mentioned the wholesale is about 25% - 33% below retail. My question is was the 15 - 20 what you get from your wholesaler or average retail from which an adjust ment for wholesale price needs to be made? I believe that is retail price but want to confirm that.

I was also wondering how long makua will produce before having to start with new plants.

I am thinking about buying about 20 rai in the next couple of years with a garden and fish pond in front of the house and some kind of farm on the back 15 or so rai. Makua seems like a good option so far but I would like to get a clear picture of startup costs.

Oh hel_l ...... another 20 rai Makua plantation!!! I should have shut my mouth!!!!

Only joking - that doesnt even supply Bkk for a day.

Okay - to your questions:

So the first few rai are always going to be more expensive when getting soemthing like this up and running (you may even decide to plant them in buckets as I suggested as an alternative), and that will push the cost up as well. You need a pump, you need to buy seeed trays, you need the labour to plant those plants you need to buy your tubing, you need to lay a distribution line ect ect.... there are a whole load of expenses that will have to be acomodated at the start , which will not have be accomodated once you are up and running and expanding e.g. you won't have to dig another well, and you won't have to buy another pump amongst others).

How much does the tubing cost - a varies according to manufacturer. I have seen it as low as Bhat 3.2 p/meter up to Baht 11. p/meter. Deepends on a whole load of factors.

The price of this crop can vary on an almost daily basis - I have seen it as low as Baht 6 p/kg and as high as Baht60 p/kg!. A fair average would be Baht15 - 20 - yes, retail in the wet season. In the dry season the average goes up to around Baht 25 - 30.

20 rai Makua is a huge Makua plantation. By all mean sgo for it, but I strongly recomend you start off with about 1 rai (which you will be able to offload daily as I said in any local village/town market), use that as your "classroom" because there is a lot to learn in growing freash vegeatable on a large scale. You will wake up one morning and will have hairy catapillars all over the plants, and panick! This experiance is a dead cert and they wil destroy your crop in a about 3 days. You need to learn how to respond to that...... and a whole load of other things that can and do happen when growing Makua.

So start off small - 1 - 4 rai is enough and then as you get comfortable, start expanding.

How long before the plants need to be replaced? 36 months, possibly even 48 months. Keep a daily yield record.

It will continue to increase month after month and then start dropping off. That is whenyou stop harvesting and trim back the plants. The production will then climb steeply. When tit starts to drop off again, trim gain ... and repeat this procedure untill the production no longer increases - in fact it will reach a point where it will start to drop off sharply. Usualy around 36, but could be as long as 48 months.

Tim

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can't even fing makua in my thai-english dictionary, so please give me an idiots guide as to what it is as i will then have to try explain it to the wife. TY

มะเขือ should be spelt as makhua in English( soft 'k' rising tone), in Issan it's called makhia.

We're having trouble getting the black PVC tubing in our town, may start with hosepipe irrigation.

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Bannork

Thanks for the language lesson - I have to consider that it may well be pronounced as you quite rightly say in Isaan - but the viewers to this forum are all over Thailand, the the majority of people will therefore relate to and recognise Makua beofre they recognise the word Makhia (again english spelling aside - which is always an issue with any word in Thai that does not havean Englisg equivilant, Makua is recognised in Isaan).

Where exactly are you - what town.

I'll get how ever much you want onto a inter-provincial truck tomorrow morning.

You'll have it in 48hours.

Actually Bannork - how much are you intending to start with?

Tim

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I don't want to rain on anyone's parade BUT those plants grow like weeds behind our house and they are ugly plants. They seem to just go on producing non stop. My wife and her family eat a few but most go to waste. My wife can't even give them away.

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But not wanting to rain on ayones parade gives the wrong imppresion i.e. that they are not worth anything. Well quite right they arent - and the reasons why are below, but that aside you can drive round Thailand and see 1000's of hectares of maize - people just leave it.

Gary -like all fruti and veg, if not maintained and picked at the right point in growth they are of no use and best to just leave to go to waste.

Hence they have to be harvested (picked) every morning - not above about 4.5cm max or less than about 3-3.5cm - depending on variety - above or below that size is no good to anyone.

Tim

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Oh hel_l ...... another 20 rai Makua plantation!!! I should have shut my mouth!!!!

Only joking - that doesnt even supply Bkk for a day.

Okay - to your questions:

So the first few rai are always going to be more expensive when getting soemthing like this up and running (you may even decide to plant them in buckets as I suggested as an alternative), and that will push the cost up as well. You need a pump, you need to buy seeed trays, you need the labour to plant those plants you need to buy your tubing, you need to lay a distribution line ect ect.... there are a whole load of expenses that will have to be acomodated at the start , which will not have be accomodated once you are up and running and expanding e.g. you won't have to dig another well, and you won't have to buy another pump amongst others).

How much does the tubing cost - a varies according to manufacturer. I have seen it as low as Bhat 3.2 p/meter up to Baht 11. p/meter. Deepends on a whole load of factors.

The price of this crop can vary on an almost daily basis - I have seen it as low as Baht 6 p/kg and as high as Baht60 p/kg!. A fair average would be Baht15 - 20 - yes, retail in the wet season. In the dry season the average goes up to around Baht 25 - 30.

20 rai Makua is a huge Makua plantation. By all mean sgo for it, but I strongly recomend you start off with about 1 rai (which you will be able to offload daily as I said in any local village/town market), use that as your "classroom" because there is a lot to learn in growing freash vegeatable on a large scale. You will wake up one morning and will have hairy catapillars all over the plants, and panick! This experiance is a dead cert and they wil destroy your crop in a about 3 days. You need to learn how to respond to that...... and a whole load of other things that can and do happen when growing Makua.

So start off small - 1 - 4 rai is enough and then as you get comfortable, start expanding.

How long before the plants need to be replaced? 36 months, possibly even 48 months. Keep a daily yield record.

It will continue to increase month after month and then start dropping off. That is whenyou stop harvesting and trim back the plants. The production will then climb steeply. When tit starts to drop off again, trim gain ... and repeat this procedure untill the production no longer increases - in fact it will reach a point where it will start to drop off sharply. Usualy around 36, but could be as long as 48 months.

Tim

Thanks MF, it looks like 30,000 irrigation startup was a pretty good ballpark not counting a well and pump.

As for starting slow, I have no intention of jumping in head first. I don't have any solid plan yet but knowing myself I have a pretty good idea how it will go.

Start with 1 or maybe even 1/2 a rai. Wait until it starts producing then look on in wonder that it worked. Start another rai to see if it will actually work again. When they come up and I can find a buyer add 2 more then 2 more etc. When I am fully committed I will look back and think how much easier and cheaper it would have been to do it all at one time. I loved your advice to have plants at several different ages to avoid losing everything to a particular pest at one time. It fit right in with my natural tendency.

The question about plant productive life was with this stepped planting in mind so I have an idea of a schedule for replanting the different plots.

Thanks a lot. This has been very helpful.

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TIM207 - Exporting? - I did & I didn't think about - well, put it this way - it didnt take me long to decide not to. As you can see it is exported, and all Thai shops overseas have them in stock. I walked into a Thai food shop in Cheltenham UK about 1 year ago - first of all suprized their was a Thai food shop in a place like that & secondly was suprized to find they had Makua in stock - although they were crap makua. And that is the problem with them - they are eaten almost exclsuively by Thai's (well atleast from a business quantity point of view) and have to be fresh, and a Thai can tell a makua that is 1 day old from a makua that is 2 days old - and anything more than a day old is past its Thai shelf date.

They are very much a fresh vegie product which the Thi's always select as fresh as they can.

PS - the edges of the little leaves around the stem where they are picked and the whitish skin at the oppiste end starts to go brown within a day or so.

So exporting has its problems. That along with the quanity required to make it viable export project is very iffy. Also , as you can see from the internet, they are exported and they are already avalible overseas.

Tell you where it would be a viable export project - if a UK tesco or USA Walmart buyer turned up on the doorstep - then I would seriously consider it because they are a fussy bunch who like to source from the same farm - and I'm defineatly in the top 1% - 2% of biggest single makua growers in Thailand.

I know there is a gur in the UK who imports on a weekly basis and I know there is also a guy in the USA who imports them from Thailand - and they also are grown in the USA.

UDON - if you PM me your address I'll post some seeds to you in Aus. They'll grow just fine there I'm certain of that.

Before someone asks - organic production is possible but you'd have to do it in a greenhouse if you wanted to do it on a commercial scale. The production costs would otherwise impact significantly on your margin

Tim

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Bannork

Thanks for the language lesson - I have to consider that it may well be pronounced as you quite rightly say in Isaan - but the viewers to this forum are all over Thailand, the the majority of people will therefore relate to and recognise Makua beofre they recognise the word Makhia (again english spelling aside - which is always an issue with any word in Thai that does not havean Englisg equivilant, Makua is recognised in Isaan).

Where exactly are you - what town.

I'll get how ever much you want onto a inter-provincial truck tomorrow morning.

You'll have it in 48hours.

Actually Bannork - how much are you intending to start with?

Tim

Not that far from you MF, near a town called Bandung, 80 km north-east of Udon.

Thanks for the sale offer but as we're only starting off with half a rai of makhua, eggplant, first of all, then might as well let the missus and sister-in-law irrigate it with the hose, inspite of your excellent advice\warning about weeds and spores encouraged by spray\ sprinklers.

The missus is keen on chillis, often quoting the 150 baht per kilo figures.

I have an important question MF about the land to be use by makhua.

As it's a 3 or 4 year plant one has to consider the rainy season so what is its tolerance to waterlogged soil? Should it only be planted on well drained soil?

cheers, Bannork.

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