Chinese-grown durian alarms Thai farmers

By Dat Nguyen   June 24, 2024 | 01:12 am PT
Chinese-grown durian alarms Thai farmers
Opened durians seen on a table. Photo by Unsplash/Jimmy Teo
Farmers in Haian City in eastern China have harvested their first durians and will sell them to the local market, which can be a threat to Thailand, the biggest exporter of durian to China.

The Thailand Office of Trade Promotion in Xiamen said China has successfully produced Hainan durian, marking a significant achievement for the Chinese durian industry, according to Thai news outlet The Nation.

"When China is able to produce Hainan durians, it would mark another achievement for the Chinese durian industry. It would not significantly impact the import of Thai durians due to limited production," the office said. "Nevertheless, Thailand cannot afford to be complacent as the Thai durian market may face competition from the emerging Hainan durians, which are gaining recognition."

China has been cultivating durians in regions such as Hainan, Sanya, and Yucai, according to China News Service.

The first batch from Hainan is set to enter the market this month with around 500 trees currently bearing fruit. Hainan durian has been under cultivation for four years, and this year marks the first season of harvest.

According to estimates, durians will be cultivated in Hainan on more than 6,600ha of land within the next three to five years.

The Thai trade office suggested that Thai exporters focus on enhancing the quality and freshness of their durians to maintain their esteemed reputation in both Chinese and global markets.

China, which is the world’s largest durian consumer, imported 1.4 million tonnes in 2023, mostly from Thailand and Vietnam, up by nearly 70% from the previous year.

In the first four months, Thailand accounted for 65.6% of the market, followed by Vietnam at 33.8%, according to trade data base Global Trade Atlas.

Thailand is poised to export approximately one million tonnes of durian, valued at an estimated 130 billion baht ($3.5 billion) this year, according to Thai PBS World.

This includes setting dry weight standards for various durian varieties: 32% for Monthong, 30% for Chanee, and 28% for Kra Dum, as detailed by Chai Wacharonke, a spokesperson for Srettha, in The Nation.

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