Thai durians flood Vietnam

By Thi Ha   April 14, 2023 | 12:17 am PT
Thai durians flood Vietnam
Durians for sale. Photo by Pexels
Thai durians are flooding into Vietnam with prices up to five times higher than domestic fruit to compensate for the shortages created by a surge in exports to China.

Hoang Anh, a fruit seller in Ho Chi Minh City’s Go Vap District, said that before this year she had never seen this many Thai durians being imported to Vietnam.

She bought Thailand's Fumani durian from a supplier, a variety of the fruit with smaller sizes and thin skin, and she sells them for VND190,000-VND250,000 ($8.10-$10.66) per kilogram, double that of the Ri6 variety that is grown in Vietnam.

Many Vietnamese sellers are importing several other Thai durian varieties such as Kanyao, Mongthon and Krathung. They are priced at VND200,000-VND350,000 per kilogram, triple that of Vietnamese durian.

Black Thorn is the most expensive durian variety imported from Thailand, priced at VND600,000-VND900,000 per kilogram.

Krathung durian sold in Hanoi. Photo by Thuy My

Krathung durian sold in Hanoi. Photo by Thuy My

Xuan, a vendor in Binh Thanh District, said that customers need to order one week in advance as there is a limited supply.

Industry insiders say that as around 70% of Vietnamese durians are exported to China this year, the domestic supply is low and therefore vendors import from Thailand to meet domestic demand.

Durian was the fastest-growing export to China among fruits in the first two months of this year, rising by 291% year-on-year to $56.9 million, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

A media representative of durian exporter Van Hoa said that Chinese buyers are still craving Vietnamese durian and exports to China are showing no sign of declining.

This is why Vietnamese vendors are importing from Thailand to satisfy the demand of domestic consumers. They say that in northern Vietnam, Thai durians account for the bulk of durians purchased, and not Vietnamese durians.

Hoang, a vendor in Hanoi’s Cau Giay District, said that he imports 20-30 tonnes of Thai durian every day, but that it is difficult to buy even 10 tons of Vietnam’s Ri6 from the Mekong Delta region.

"The highest quality durians in southern Vietnam are being sold to China," he said. "Some farmers sell them domestically but in low quantity and therefore I cannot buy them."

Vietnam imported nearly $8.5 million worth of fruit from Thailand in the first three months of this year, up 9% year-on-year. Durians, pineapples and mangosteens are among the top imports.

This year, Thailand’s durian production from three provinces in the eastern region are set to rise more than 3% from last year to 756,465 tons.

The country plans to export 200,000 tons to China this year.

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