Durian exports to undergo regulatory revamp in Thailand

Thailand’s durian exports are set for a regulatory overhaul to ensure quality and competitiveness on the global stage, according to government spokesperson Chai Wacharonke. As the leading global durian exporter, Thailand’s move towards stricter quality control aims to bolster its market position. The export of durians has become a significant revenue source for the country, with earnings reaching 120 billion baht in 2023.

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin instructed the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives to draft a new ministerial regulation focusing on durian standards. The aim is to prevent the sale of unripe or inferior quality durians, thereby protecting the reputation of Thai exports.

The proposed regulation stipulates that durians must be packed and certified to meet minimum dry weight requirements for the pulp of different varieties: 32% for Monthong, 30% for Chanee, and 28% for Kra Dum. It is anticipated that this regulation will take effect in a year.

Last year, durian shipments totalled 900,000 tonnes, 300,000 tonnes of which were allocated for domestic consumption. The majority of the remaining produce was exported to China, a market that continues to exhibit a growing appetite for durians.

Demand is expected to surge to 1 million tonnes this year, and, in the long term, it could potentially increase 15-fold, reaching 15 million tonnes.

The Office of Agricultural Economics anticipates a 6% increase in this year’s durian harvest, yielding approximately 823,989 tonnes. This spike, from 390,177 rai to 424,729 rai, follows the prime harvesting period between March and August, with May being the peak month.

However, durian production faces challenges from extreme weather and climate change effects, including the El Nino phenomenon. These factors lead to under-flowering or premature flower shedding, significantly reducing the yield of premium durian varieties.

Kasikorn Research Center forecasts that the value of Thai durian exports to China will reach US$4.5 billion this year, marking a 12% increase from 2023. Despite the growing demand for fresh Thai durian in China, it is expected to face increased competition in the future, reported Bangkok Post.

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