Government cracks down on garlic smuggling in the north

The Commerce Ministry in conjunction with the Customs Department and the Royal Thai Army has launched a new crackdown on illegal garlic smuggling.

The crackdown is being driven by a drop in the price of local garlic from 115 baht per kilogram last year to 77.5 baht this year, with the price drop being blamed on illegally smuggled garlic from Myanmar and Laos through northern Thailand.

“The Foreign Trade Department is working closely with the Internal Trade Department, the Customs Department and Internal Security Operations Command to deal with the issue, particularly garlic smuggled from neighboring countries,” Boonyarit Kalayanamit, director-general of the Internal Trade Department told the Bangkok Post.

“The Internal Trade Department, in particular, is empowered under the 1999 Price of Goods and Services Act to govern the import and transport of goods and services. Under the Act, any persons who possess and move the garlic without permits will be liable to imprisonment of at least five years or a fine up to 140,000 baht (US$4,374), or both.”

The report notes that Thailand is expected to produce 76,500 tonnes of garlic this year, 10.6% higher than in 2017 as there are more plantation areas, notably in Chiang Mai, Mae Hong Son, Lamphun and Lampang.