Chinese Demands for Thai Durians Soar in Pandemic

PM Prayuth Chan-ocha visits a durian market in Yala province on Aug. 7, 2019.

BANGKOK (Xinhua) — The Thai Ministry of Commerce said the high demand from China for durians had actually saved Thai durian farmers from suffering the sluggish economy due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Chinese appetite for Thai durians remains strong despite the pandemic and weak global demand for goods, said the ministry.

The ministry’s latest figures indicated that Thailand exported 567.29 million U.S. dollars worth of durians to China in the first four months of 2020, up 78 percent year-on-year.

In 2019, Thailand exported 1.46 billion U.S. dollars’ worth of durians to overseas markets, a rise of 54.6 percent from the previous year, with China and ASEAN nations accounting for 98 percent of export volume.

“Before the COVID-19 crisis, Chinese merchants already visited the Thai durian farms and have placed direct orders before the start of the annual harvest season,” Auramon Supthaweethum, director-general of the Ministry’s Trade Negotiations Department, told Xinhua.

Auramon estimated that 2020 will see total durian production in Thailand at 900,000 tonnes, with 85 percent of them exported.