Kingdom eyes world durian title

Kingdom eyes world durian title

Durian fruits are available at a fair in Bangkok last year. (Photo: Apichart Jinakul)
Durian fruits are available at a fair in Bangkok last year. (Photo: Apichart Jinakul)

Thailand is on course to become the world's largest durian producer over the next five years but is at risk of losing out to neighbouring exporters of the king of fruit, experts warned on Wednesday.

Given the growth in durian-growing areas in the country in the past decade, which has seen a 30% rise, durian production is predicted to rise by 83% from 2021-2025, said Aat Pisanwanich, director of the Centre for International Trade Studies at the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce.

The average annual amount of durian produced from 2021-25 is tipped to be 2.02 million tonnes, compared to 1.11 million tonnes last year, said Mr Aat.

That will be the largest amount of durian production in the world, he said, adding that at present Thailand is second after Indonesia which produces the world's largest volume at 1.20 million tonnes of durian per year.

The quantity of durian production in Thailand rose by 6,000 tonnes per year between 2011 and 2016, he said.

Between 2017 and last year, the amount jumped by 140,000 tonnes per year, more than 20 times higher, he said.

"This surge in durian production was a result of the expansion of durian-growing areas in the South and the Northeast," he said.

The South has seen the highest growth in durian-growing areas, followed by the Northeast.

Durian plantations in that region grew by 300% during the same period.

Thailand's neighbours have also been expanding their durian-growing areas, he said.

Durian production in Malaysia has in recent years grown by 42%, while Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam have seen a 32%, 40% and 20% growth in durian production respectively.

As a result, Thailand is now projected to lose its durian export market share from about 80% last year to about 57% by 2025, said Mr Aat.

The world's total volume of durian exports is predicted in the next five years to rise by 350,000 tonnes per year from only 130,000 tonnes per year as seen in the past decade.

As such, the world's durian exports are forecast to rise by 134.5% to 1.8 million tonnes by 2025, compared to a 48.3% rise in 2020, he said.

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