Thai durian growers in the eastern province of Chanthaburi, the nation’s largest source of this fruit, have asked the Ministry of Commerce to seek new export markets for durian, besides China. They are afraid there may be a glut of the fruit in the next few years.
Durian production this year was estimated at about 860,000 tons, a huge increase of about 25% over last year. Mangosteen, another popular Thai fruit, also saw an almost three-fold increase of from last year’s 50,000-80,000 tons to this year’s estimated 150,000 tons.
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.
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.