Durian growers ask Commerce Ministry to find new export markets
Durian growers in the eastern province of Chanthaburi, Thailand’s largest source of the “king of Thai fruit”, have asked the Ministry of Commerce to seek new export markets for durian, besides China, fearing that there may be a glut of the fruit in the next few years.
Durian production this year was estimated at about 860,000 tonnes, a huge increase of about 25% over last year.
Mangosteen, another favorite Thai fruit, also saw an almost three-fold increase of from last year’s 50,000-80,000 tonnes to this year’s estimated 150,000 tonnes.
Despite the production increase and high demand from China, Thailand’s main export market, informed sources said that high-grade durian still fetch attractive prices, between 110-140 baht per kilogramme, while the lower grades fetch between 50-90 baht per kilogramme.
Due to economic slowdown in China, the sources said that Chinese durian traders, who have set up offices in durian-producing provinces in Thailand, have switched to buying an increasing amount of lower grade product to cut costs and to try to expand their markets.
Although Thai durian is still marketable and fetches good prices, growers are worried that, in the near future there may be a glut of durian, due to increased production in Thailand as well as production from new sources such as Malaysia, and Thai durian will face more competition which will affect domestic prices.