Thailand is using its army to stop smuggling, and this sounds entirely reasonable, logical. However, it is not being done to prevent drugs or human trafficking across the border. The Southeast Asian country is doing it to control what it calls garlic smuggling which has caused a drop in prices for the locally cultivated garlic.
Of course, low prices and voracious appetite for garlic is driving traders towards the cheap imports coming from neighboring countries.
Internal Trade Department’s Director-General Boonyarit Kalayanamit certified the reports doing rounds in the news. He said the commerce ministry, the customs department, and Military officers are working together to stop the smuggling of garlic.
Due to the cheap imports, local farmers are getting $1.81 for a kilogram of garlic these days. During the same period last year, they use to get at least $2.70 for the same vegetable. The contraband imports are triggering price slump, and this is killing farmers’ profits.
The 1999s Price of Goods and Services Act empowers the Internal Trade Department to charge a penalty of $4,374 or arrest and keep a person in jail for five years if the concerned person is found possessing, transporting garlic without permission.
As of now, the Thailand Government has not named the countries from where the smugglers are getting garlic, but trade experts believe it might be coming from China after getting rerouted from nations that share a border with Thailand.
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