More than 25,000 garlic farmers are demanding the government ban imports from China, where garlic is considerably cheaper due to lower production costs.

The China-Thailand Free Trade Agreement signed in June 2003 allowed China to import their garlic to Thailand with 0% tax.

Farmers in Lamphun Province, a major garlic-growing area, are concerned about the China-Laos railway network, fearing it will hurt the agricultural economy and the competitiveness of small- and medium-sized businesses.

The garlic community enterprise in Lamphun’s Ban Hong District, is accelerating promotion of organic garlic to differentiate their products.

Local garlic grower Pathipong Nupalao complained that Chinese garlic has flooded the Thai market is costing him orders.

He said local growers have to bear the cost of their garlic production while, in China, garlic plantations are huge, giving the country better economies of scale.

Another farmer urged the government to stop garlic imports, as a kilogram of it is priced at about 80 baht, considerably lower than Thai prices which stood at 100 baht.