Thai growers are alarmed by the rise in substandard durians meant for export to China. If this issue persists, it could hurt Thailand's reputation as one of the largest exporters of durian in the region.
Last week, the Mukdahan Plant Quarantine Station banned 38 tons of durians due for export to China via Laos. The shipments were sent back to Chumphon, the source, after authorities at the border station found many substandard durians. These durians were said to be unripe and tainted with bugs and disease. The incident has sparked questions of how such substandard durians can be moved out of the province despite shipments needing prior Department of Agriculture (DoA) approval.
It is fair to say that Thai durians perform well in the Chinese market due to their popularity. In the past six months, more than 670,000 tons of durians have been exported to China. Despite the demand, Thailand lacks effective regulations to ensure the quality of all of its durian exports. The DoA must inspect durians for export but they lack the authority to take legal action.