TROPICAL FRUIT PRODUCTION IN NORTHERN HEMISPHERE OF ASEAN AND ITS NEIGHBOUR
The historic background of the countries has much influenced on the development of tropical fruit culture of the region. Thailand, the longtime self-governing country has developed her fruit production policy consistantly from the past up to the present. The fruit production policy has not been blocked by the plantation crops as it had in her neighbouring countries.
The Chronical of King Narai the great who ruled the country 300 years ago revealed that the government collected the tax from the individual fruit trees. Durian for example was taxed 4 American cents a tree while mango, mangosteen, and jackfruit were taxed only 1 cent a tree. The dead trees had to be replanted immediately otherwise the growers would be punished. This regulation, together with the habit of the Thais who beleived in offering the best of their possession to the monk, has created the endless search for better quality fruits. The selection of top varieties has been consistanly practiced for centuries which resulted in accumulated a great number of good varieties in the country.
Countries in this region like Malaysia which were governed by the industrialized countries, fruit production was weaken by the strong promotion of plantation crops such as para rubber, coconut, oil palm, cacao. On this weakness, there is still a good chance to improve fruit varieties through native seeded trees which are vastly available. Sri Lanka has less chance because this country does not have her own native tropical fruit trees. Bangladesh has a great opportunity to develop jack fruit, mango and lime since tropical fruit trees in this country are dominated by these three species.
Bangkok, the center of civilization of Thailand is situated in the hot, humid low lying land, and most of the horticultural produces supplied for the populous Bangkokian have been produced in the suburb of Bangkok. This makes area around Bangkok the origin of superior fruit varieties and also the origin of modern fruit production of the country. The clay, low-lying terrain around Bangkok causes the fruit growers in this area to adopt the ridge planting system. Unlike her neighbouring countries, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines where fruit crop production has been developed from up land terrain.