Thailand’s durian farmers are preparing for a difficult export of their fruits to China

Thailand’s durian farmers are preparing for strict import controls by their biggest buyer – China, while the country continues to maintain its zero-covid19 policy at the border.

Last year, Thailand exported more than 875 thousand tons of its pungent yellow fruit by air, water and land, bringing in an estimated $3.4 billion, according to the Department of Agriculture.

This year, Thai farmers hope to increase their exports as they expect bigger harvests, but the continued enforcement of strict Covid19 policies in China threatens to negate high expectations for the season.

Currently, land transport by truck is the most common mode of export. But if Covid19 is detected at the border, durian goods could be destroyed and the border closed for days or even weeks.

Thai farmers have faced strict regulations from the Chinese before when an estimated tens of thousands of tons of durian were destroyed last year.

This year, the Thai government, along with its neighbour Laos, plans to export products via the new China-Laos high-speed rail link, which connects the capital Vientiane with the Chinese city of Kunming in southwestern Yunnan province.

According to the Thai Durian Association, one train could carry between 35 and 50 containers of the king of Thai fruit.

The Durian season takes place in March every year, peaking in mid-May and June, and finally ending in December.

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