Grow more durians, no fear of oversupply, says agriculture minister
Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Chalermchai Sri-on has encouraged farmer to increase cultivation of durians to meet the growing demand in the world market.
“The Agriculture Ministry is promoting the durian in a complete cycle, from production to marketing. What the growers need to do is ensure the quality of their produce and make Thai durian the most delicious in the world,” Chalermchai said during a panel discussion on “Thai fruits for the world”.
He said that the export market for Thai fruits are worth around THB200 billion to THB400 billion, with durians being the major revenue-maker.
The minister urged growers to maintain the quality of their durians, adding that there would be no oversupply problem over the next decade.
According to him, durian exports to China have slowed down due to its strict zero-Covid policy, which rejects exported goods found to be contaminated with the coronavirus. He added that he has stressed safety measures throughout the production process to prevent contamination.
Thailand exported up to THB100 billion worth of durians last year, according to Department of Agriculture director-general Rapeepat Chansriwong said.
He added that this year’s output of the “king of fruits” was estimated at 1.2 million tonnes from about 900,000 rai (144,000 hectares) of durian plantations across the country.
“Durians have the potential to bring in a lot of revenue,” he said.
Thai Durian Association president Phanusak Saiphanich added that most of Thailand’s durian exports of 820,000 tonnes last year went to China.
He called on the government to look for new markets while catering to China’s demand for durians, as that country is regarded as the main export market.
Meanwhile, Alongkorn Ponlaboot, adviser to the agriculture and cooperatives minister, said that Thailand’s fruit exports last year were worth THB250 billion — THB180 billion as fresh fruits and THB70 billion as frozen or processed fruits.
“Durian exports were worth THB109 billion, crossing the THB100-billion milestone for the first time. That exceeded the annual export value of rice, which has never reached that level over the past three decades,” he said.
According to Alongkorn, Thai fruits made up 40 per cent of China’s imports, way ahead of 15 per cent from Chile, and 6 per cent from Vietnam.