Thailand looks to boost durian trade

2024-06-21 Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

Thai authorities have implemented multiple methods, including expanding the farming scale and improving fruit quality using high technology, to guarantee the lion's share of durian exports to the Chinese market.

Prime Minister's Office spokesman Chai Wacharonke told a press conference that the government has enhanced quality control policies for fresh fruit exports, particularly durian.

Strict management and quality control standards have been established to guarantee fruit quality and prevent excessive pesticide residues.

"Legislation preventing the clandestine cutting and selling of unripe durian would enable both control and standardization of Thai durian exports," he said.

Chai said the government anticipated that future durian consumption would grow to 15 times its current level, reaching around 15 million tons.

"We hope that in the future, it will be able to significantly increase the export value of durians to reach up to 1 trillion baht ($27.23 billion)," he added.

China's huge durian consumption market has boosted Thai durian production and attracted other Southeast Asian countries, such as Vietnam and the Philippines, which have rapidly grown to become Thailand's competitors.

In 2023, China imported 1.42 million tons of fresh durians with about 65 percent of them supplied by Thailand, Vietnam supplied 35 percent, followed by the Philippines, which supplied less than 1 percent, according to the General Administration of Customs of China.

Despite the challenges posed to Thailand, the Bangkok-based Kasikorn Research Center forecasts that the value of Thai durian exports to China will rise to $4.5 billion this year, a 12 percent increase from last year.

To safeguard its leading position in durian exports to China, the kingdom's main durian production regions are seeking technological support to enhance durian quality.

Since last year, the Commercial Association for Sustainability of Agriculture in Thailand has been working with the Foreign Economic Cooperation Center (FECC) under the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs to build smart durian orchards in western Thailand's Chanthaburi province.

Chinese scientists helped to install equipment for meteorological, water level, and soil moisture monitoring in several of the province's pilot orchards. The equipment could then provide data support for the scientific cultivation of durian and the improvement of fruit quality.

Moreover, the FECC has also partnered with China's e-commerce platforms to develop online sales channels and hold livestreaming activities, further exploring the Chinese market.

Local authorities in the other main durian production regions, such as Southern Thailand's Chumphon province, are boosting the tropical fruit trade by holding festivals to increase brand exposure.

Last week, a durian festival celebration was held in Chumphon, with some Chinese logistics companies and fruit dealers were invited to the event.

At the festival's opening ceremony, provincial governor Wisah Poolsirirat revealed that the province will produce a total of 250,000 tons of durian this year, bringing income for local people worth more than 33 billion baht.

"The expansion of durian planting area is mainly driven by the growing needs from major trading partner countries, of which 70 percent is attributed to China," Wisah said.

"We will further improve our durian quality and make it a top brand among Chinese customers."

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