Hold your nose. Agriculture officials in Phuket have opened the ‘Phuket Durian Fair’ this week, seeking to promote the famous Thai fruit to bring income to local farmers. The Phuket Provincial Agriculture Office held the opening event in front of its offices on Narisorn Road in the island province’s main city district.
The late Anthony Bourdain once said of the durian: “Your breath will smell as if you’ve been French kissing your dead grandmother.”
Phuket’s agriculture chief highlighted the importance of durian to Phuket’s locals. Chief Suban Rakthong said the fruit is in high demand, especially among tourists from other Asian countries. Suban said that if Phuket is fully open for tourism, it will rake in more profit for local farmers.
“We hope farmers use more of their land to grow durian to replace other crops, as the current price of durian is an incentive for farmers to grow more durians.”
The fair also held competitions for the best locally grown durians, and products made from the fruit. There were also exhibitions about different types of durians.
Suban noted that 789 households in Phuket are home to durian farmers. He said that an estimated 2,511 rai on the island is used for durian farming, and the 610 tonnes of durian produced each year are valued at about 53.7 million baht per year.
Durian is currently Thailand’s biggest export. The export of the popular fruit made almost 187 billion baht in 2021. Rice made 100 billion baht, while rubber brought home 90 billion baht.
Thailand is set to keep its status as the world’s largest durian supplier for the next 5 years. However, with intense competition from Malaysia and Vietnam, its export market share could drop from 85% to 76%, according to professor Dr. Att Pisarnvanich, Director of the Centre Association.
SOURCE: The Phuket News
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