Thai fruit exporters have urged growers and business operators to ensure high sanitary standards to protect the industry from effects of the pandemic. Despite the crisis hitting the economy hard, exports of fresh fruit from Thailand are still holding up as demand from China continues, said Paiboon Wongchotesathit, president of Thai Fresh Fruit Traders and Exporters Association.
But to safeguard the export market Mr Paiboon urged exporters to apply high sanitary standards to ensure shipments -- especially fresh fruit from the eastern region including durian, longan, and mangosteen harvested during the Covid-19 breakout -- are not tainted with the coronavirus.
He asked exporters to make sure workers wear face masks and to supply enough hand gel for food pickers and packers to have their hands cleansed frequently. He said food exporters are trying to comply with the government's policy.
Operators are worried about a labour shortage as some migrant workers also return to their home countries out of fear of catching Covid-19.
Three years ago, there were only 300 durian exporters. Given the fruit's popularity in China, the number of exporters have risen to 1,000 operators. There are now about 5,000 labourers working in the fruit export industry, most of them migrant workers from Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia.