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Global price rises: Can we get by on local produce in Thailand?


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ASEAN NOW Op-Ed

 

It is plainly obvious that walking around your local supermarket, the prices of the day-to-day items we need have risen.

 

As we are reading daily, after more than three months of the war in Ukraine, the media, economists and particularly aid agencies are telling us that the world is facing merging crises that could lead to a global food emergency. 

 

Fertilizers and food prices were already surging to record levels before the conflict, due to shipping constraints, high energy costs, the pandemic and natural disasters.


Sanctions, import bans, destruction of infrastructure, a refugee crisis, and supply chain disruptions due to the conflict in Ukraine, are all adding to the global food prices and risking shortages.


Importantly, higher prices and potentially falling inventories could mean greater food insecurity in the US and around the world.


Cooking oil up by 50%


Last week in Vietnam, they reported that a liter of the most affordable vegetable oil now costs $2.07-2.38.
That is a whopping 50 percent higher than at the beginning of this year and double the price two years ago.

 

Producers blame the rising prices on higher input costs.


Price of palm oil, a leading edible oil, has quadrupled in the last two years.


Rice Exporters worried too


Thai media reported last week that rice exporters have expressed growing concerns about shipment prospects in the second quarter, as a sharp rise in domestic prices may lead importers to balk at buying Thai grains.

 

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India, the world’s top buyer of palm, soybean, and sunflower oil, is suffering from rising prices following supply disruptions caused by the conflict in Ukraine, adverse weather in South America and a labor shortage in Malaysia.


75 % from Ukraine and Russia


Ukraine and Russia used to account more than 75 percent of global exports of sunflower oil, one of the world’s four leading edible oils, while Brazil and Argentina are among the largest soybean oil suppliers to India.


The same shortage has happened in Europe, with British supermarkets rationing cooking oil and prices quadrupling in Spain following panic buying.


Business website Trading Economics expects palm oil prices to scale a new high of $1,665 in the next 12 months.


Ukraine is also unable to export wheat as their ships are stranded in ports.


Thailand has a homegrown industry


At least Thailand is the number one exporter of rice in the world with Vietnam second.


One of Thais’ main staple diets is rice.


We also produce Coconut oil which apparently you can substitute for cooking oil.


Back in August 2021, the production volume of coconut oil in Thailand amounted to around 4,245 metric tons, which indicated an increase from previous years. 


Hopefully, we will be able to rely on homegrown items from Thailand, however certain imported products will surge, and stocks are likely to be scarce.


So, it is back to the local markets to buy homegrown fruit, vegetables, chicken, and meat, and try to stay away from imported goods for the next few years. 

 

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I only buy imported food items as a treat to my otherwise all locally sourced food.

For example Branston pickle, Japanese curry etc.

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Inflation to a certain degree can be controlled by the use of better management.

Cooking Oil has risen by over 60 %, affecting nearly all the Street Food sellers in various ways.

OK ! Use less of the stuff

Instead of standing and whining about the extra costs, try to be more efficient in the use of the more expensive Oil and other Ingredients.

Instead of deep frying the Chicken, shallow fry the stuff, source your ingredients from cheaper suppliers Etc.

it not only saves on the cost of Oil, but is a little healthier.

In doing so the costs can be somewhat controlled, thus keeping Inflation down a little

However, TIT and the option to actually think of being more efficient is a no go in many instances sadly, so they will all stand and whine about the costs which have to be passed to the customers

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Posted (edited)

My wife bought a pumpkin at the local market and said to the seller that it looked different (smaller). "Yes, it comes from overseas!" was the response as if that was a better thing. I'm guessing it's come on the train from China.

Edited by rbkk
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Have been using pure coconut oil for cooking for years!

Yes, more expensive than the other rubbish, unhealthy cooking oils...some wrongly labeled as "vegetable oils" when in fact they are grain/seed oils.

Not remotely connected to vegetables. 

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1 hour ago, BritManToo said:

I use an air fryer for almost all my fried food now.

Cost of oil = ZERO.

Then you're  using it wrong or not cooking chips or roasting vegetables

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Posted (edited)
33 minutes ago, orchidfan said:

Have been using pure coconut oil for cooking for years!

Yes, more expensive than the other rubbish, unhealthy cooking oils...some wrongly labeled as "vegetable oils" when in fact they are grain/seed oils.

Not remotely connected to vegetables. 

I had no idea that cooking in any oil was good for you in Thailand.

Oh well learn something new every day on Asean now. 

 

 

Edited by Orinoco
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Posted (edited)
40 minutes ago, Orinoco said:

I had no idea that cooking in any oil was good for you in Thailand.

Oh well learn something new every day on Asean now. 

Not sure about 'healthy', aside from moderate olive oil use.  But healthier than the cheap brands, palm mainly.

 

You really do need some oil / fat (and or butter, clarified or not), simply for heat transference, even in 'air fryers' if wanting crispy results.

 

Edited by KhunLA
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Posted (edited)

When the pandemic started and they locked us down, I said to the wife, as soon as they allow us out, we are getting a freezer, we already had two fridges.

 

Both fridges and now the freezer have always been filled ever since they let us out, and of course I get the usual items that we have used for the week so as to keep the inventory up to date.

 

We are also well stocked when it comes to, tinned items, glass items, oils and of course alcohol.

 

Who said more is less, not in this household and yes I have seen the increase in prices, say 10% or thereabouts, thankfully diesel hasn't rises because I can't store that.

 

It is what it is and you just have to make due of rising costs, but don't get left behind, stock up, you also save on price rises if you get in early enough.

 

Bagged some great international flights the other day as well, beats paying full price 🙂

 

Life goes on and age also increases, so keep living life to your fullest.

 

Edited by 4MyEgo
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The food I buy is mostly locally produced, fresh fruit and vegetables. I buy very little packaged food, as I am on a low-carb diet. Not fanatical about it, I still have bread and the occasional restaurant meal of noodles.

Much of the market fruit and vegetables are seasonal. I haven't noticed any marked increase in restaurant prices, one of my favorites, an egg, cheese and spinach omelet, went from 110 baht to 120 baht.

I suppose wine, imported steak, and salmon have gone up,  buy them infrequently.

The biggest price rise I have seen is gasoline.

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23 minutes ago, Lacessit said:

I suppose wine, imported steak, and salmon have gone up,  buy them infrequently.

The biggest price rise I have seen is gasoline.

Our 19l water has gone up. There's been 2 baht hike to 12 baht. Alarming!

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1 hour ago, Moonlover said:

They're a very self-sufficient bunch and will always help each other as well.

That's how I felt until Covid-19 hit. Whilst Bangkok and many provincial towns and villages supplied meals to those holed up in quarantine at home, no such help around here! Many went hungry or "escaped" at dusk to get food to survive. The Covid hit households were cordoned off, given paracetamol and not visited again for 10 days.

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51 minutes ago, 4MyEgo said:

Both fridges and now the freezer have always been filled ever since they let us out, and of course I get the usual items that we have used for the week so as to keep the inventory up to date.

That's great until the grid fails  ....... and that's already happening in the west.

Time to make your own electricity as well.

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51 minutes ago, rbkk said:

That's how I felt until Covid-19 hit. Whilst Bangkok and many provincial towns and villages supplied meals to those holed up in quarantine at home, no such help around here! Many went hungry or "escaped" at dusk to get food to survive. The Covid hit households were cordoned off, given paracetamol and not visited again for 10 days.

I don't believe you!

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8 hours ago, ozz1 said:

Imported goods are on the rise but walking around the local market in issan things are about the same but go to the supermarket and everything is up that's probably why the markets up here are so busy

When in doubt buy local. 

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5 hours ago, spidermike007 said:

I think the more dependent you become on local goods, the more reasonable, and insulated from inflation you are. They talk about cooking oil. But, they are mentioning the more popular oils, and also the least healthy oils, like palm, and soybean. Rice bran oil has barely gone up, and neither has sunflower. Both are super healthy for cooking. 

 

Inflation in the West is insane right now. Likely 20% or more, in real terms, not the fake numbers they keep publishing. Here, it is not bad so far. 

The comparative values largely have everything to do with particular cultural lifestyles and perceptions thereof. 

Keep in mind, that that those in traditional non-European societies usually have a better attached sense of self-sufficiency, independence and everyday freedoms that are not display in the West.

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12 hours ago, webfact said:

So, it is back to the local markets to buy homegrown fruit, vegetables, chicken, and meat,

Yes indeed and very commendable. I used to when I lived in Thailand but please remember to wash such local produce if used uncooked, especially salad ingredients. For reference:

 

https://www.abc.net.au/everyday/should-you-wash-fruit-and-vegetables-before-eating-them/11427008

"Rinsing does two things: it reduces our exposure to microorganisms that can make us sick, and may wash away chemical and pesticide residues.

Dirt can harbor pathogens, such as Escherichia coli (E. coli) and Salmonella, which are microorganisms that can inhabit the intestines of warm-blooded animals."

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, BritManToo said:

That's great until the grid fails  ....... and that's already happening in the west.

Time to make your own electricity as well.

There's always ice till the power comes back on, and as Thailand gets it's natural gas from it's own gulf, can't see that ever happening.

 

Only 3% is bought from Russia, which is turned into 5.22 million litres of refined oil per day. Mr Kulit is not worried about LNG imports, which account for 18% of total LNG supply, as Thailand buys from many regions.

 

 

Edited by 4MyEgo
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13 hours ago, webfact said:

Business website Trading Economics expects palm oil prices to scale a new high of $1,665 in the next 12 months.

Per bottle?   555

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Price rises , I think you will find your electricity bill will 

be higher this time* ,up by 600 THB, not used any more

it's just a price rise.   * except the lads with solar set ups.....

regards worgeordie

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3 hours ago, Moonlover said:

I don't believe you!

Charming.

Our neighbour is one of the local health officials. My wife went to school with her. I've lived  here since 1998. She apologised but said yes, in Buriram province they have a budget for meals but not in our province. 20 houses in our soi and 4 were cordoned off due to Covid-19. No free quarantine meals were delivered to any of the 4 Covid households for 10 days. People had to fend for themselves and order from 7-11 etc. All of the 4 affected houses slipped out under cover of darkness to get supplies.

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