Thailand fruit exports up, despite new Covid-19 fears

PHOTO: Durians driving Thailand's climbing export numbers.

Thailand fruit exporters saw a 107% growth in January and February over last year’s comparable figures, reports the National News Bureau. 18 countries have free trade agreements for fruit with Thailand, and the total trade in the first 2 months of 2021 is valued at US $461 million. Thailand is actively exporting fresh fruit with its top buyers being Australia, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Singapore. The most popular fruits are the national delicacy of durian, along with mango, mangosteen and longan.

On the other hand, some Thai durian farmers are anxious about the effect of the current third wave of Covid-19 in Thailand and how it could hamper their lucrative Chinese exporting. Earlier in 2021 health authorities in China circulated a press release stating that imported cherries from Chile had been tested and found to have Covid-19 contamination. This statement prompted a huge drop in Chilean cherry prices. Thai growers are worried the same might happen to durian imports. As the seriousness of the Coronavirus in Thailand reaches new widespread levels, one instance of a durian container being linked to Covid-19 could spur a total ban on importing fruit from Thailand.

Durian has been a success story amidst global slumps. While general exports in 2020 recorded their lowest figures in 6 years, fresh durian exports were up 259% in January and February versus the same months in 2020. And exports to China, totalling 575,000 tonnes of durian, were up an astounding 497% comparing those same 2 month time periods.

Thailand is the 7th largest fruit exporter in the world, and this growth is indicative of a continued upward trend.

SOURCE: Fruitnet and Fresh Plaza

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Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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