Thai durian operators in thorny situation as authorities urge industry to expand

Like many others, his family farm Baan Suan Ratchanat is in Chanthaburi, which is one of Thailand’s major fruit provinces, along with Rayong and Trat. In these northeastern provinces, the durian season generally runs from April to June.

The greater northeast region accounts for about half of Thailand’s total fruit production.

With wholesale durian prices averaging around 140 baht per kg this season, reaching 200 baht at one point, the fruit has proven to be a “golden” cash crop for Thailand, and many players have been clamoring for more. have skin in the game.

Across Thailand, durian farmland grew from just 96,000 ha in 2012 to 152,000 ha in 2019, according to the Office of Agricultural Economics.

Agricultural authorities forecast a production of 1.4 million tonnes of durian this year, up 17% from the previous year.

Driven by high export demand and high yields of durians, nearly 80 percent of farmers in Chanthaburi have switched from planting rubber trees to seedlings of durians, said conservationist Somnuck Jongmeewasin, noting a similar trend in d other major agricultural industries such as cassava.

“I think there is a risk of a durian bubble,” said Dr Somnuck, who is also research director of the Eastern Economic Corridor Watch, an advocacy group.

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