Durian exports to China soar on insatiable demand

By Minh Hieu   December 14, 2023 | 10:29 pm PT
Durian exports to China soar on insatiable demand
Durians just harvested from an orchard in the Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang. Photo by VnExpress/Linh Dan
Approved for official export last year, dozens of containers of durians are imported every day from Vietnam by China.

The port in Pingxiang City, which handles much of durian imports, has seen an inflow of the fruit from Vietnam large enough to rival Thailand, China’s main supplier, since last year.

Nong Liqing, CEO of a fruit importer in the city, told Xinhua his firm has imported more than 1,600 containers of durians in the year to date.

China has a huge demand for the spiky fruit.

Last year it imported a total of 825,000 tons of the fruit for US$4.03 billion, the highest of any fruit, according to data from China’s customs.

After the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, a free-trade agreement between ASEAN and various trade partners including China, allowed Vietnamese durian access to the Chinese market, that country has become Vietnam’s biggest importer of the fruit.

Wang Zhengbo, president of a fruit company in Guangxi, said that his firm had signed deals last year with 3,000 hectares of Vietnamese orchards.

In the first 10 months of this year durian accounted for 51% of total vegetable and fruit exports, according to the Vietnam Fruits & Vegetables Association (Vinafruit).

Dang Phuc Nguyen, general secretary of Vinafruit, said the country has surpassed Malaysia and the Philippines in durian exports to China and is behind only Thailand.

But Vietnamese durian is expected to be more competitive toward year-end as it has off-season durian ready to ship while Thailand usually struggles with unfavorable weather every year.

Exporters are eyeing a figure of $2.5 billion this year, and prices might rise to a new peak next month.

Since 2010 the area under durian in Vietnam has shot up from 92,000 ha to 131,000 ha, and the yield is estimated at one million tons this year, up 15.9% from 2022.

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