China's imports of Vietnamese durian surge over 6-fold

By Thi Ha   May 29, 2024 | 05:18 am PT
China's imports of Vietnamese durian surge over 6-fold
Monthong durians at an export enterprise's store. Photo by Linh Dan
China spent $204 million on Vietnamese durian in April, a 6.5-fold increase from the same period last year.

In the first four months China bought $432 million worth of Vietnamese durians, up 168% year-on-year, according to the Vietnam Fruits & Vegetables Association (Vinafruit).

This means it bought 92% of Vietnam’s total durian exports, up 8 percentage points year-on-year.

Vietnam exported its durian at $4,207 per ton on average in the first four months. Last month, however, price was 5.6% lower than average.

Vinafruit general secretary Dang Phuc Nguyen said that Vietnam durian is now in season and therefore supply is high.

The cost of transportation to China is currently low while there are less competition from Thai exporters as drought and heatwave reduced production in their country.

Thai exporters have complained that high temperature in April and May cause the skin of durian to crack and farmers have to sell the "overheated" fruit below market rate.

The ongoing drought may reduce Thailand’s durian production this year by 42%, or around 540,000 tons, the Nation quoted Aat Pisanwanich, an expert on international economics and adviser to Intelligent Research Consultancy, as saying.

China has now doubled the number of Vietnamese farms approved for exports, which increased supply.

Vietnamese exporters say that durian quality is increasing while prices are gradually falling, making exporting easy.

Some farms, however, still use an pesticides in excess and therefore quality control needs to improve to make Vietnamese durian surpass that of Thailand, a long-time exporter to China.

Nguyen said earlier that farmers in the southern region have been successful in applying new techniques in growing durian.

"Durian is a strong advantage for Vietnam in competing for the China market. There are times when Vietnamese sellers are the only ones with supply".

Last year China bought $2.1 billion worth of durian from Vietnam, but the figure can reach as high as $3 billion this year, he added.

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