Thailand may soon have to compete with Vietnam along with Malaysia when it comes to exporting durian to China, the Department of International Trade Promotion (DITP) said on Sunday.
The department said Vietnam recently started exporting fresh durian to China under the official quota for the first time, and the volume is expected to surge in the future.
For years, Vietnam has been exporting the fruit to China unofficially, but recently Chinese authorities made it official by setting up 76 origin codes for durian farms in Vietnam and 25 codes for packaging firms.
DIPT quoted a government online circular, vietnamnet.vn, as saying that Van Xuan Phat Import-Export Co, which has already sent three containers of the fruit to China, plans to export 1,000 tonnes of durian to the mainland every month.
“Being allowed to export under the official quota is a very good opportunity for Vietnamese durian. I foresee bigger durian exports to China in the next five or 10 years,” Ha Duy Trung, owner of the durian brand 9 Phe, said.
According to customs data, China imported 821,600 tonnes of fresh durian last year worth US$4.2 billion, up 82 per cent year on year, the biggest import of any fruit. It is estimated that imports will continue rising this year.
Meanwhile, Vietnam’s total export of durian in the first half of this year was worth over $84 million, recording a more than 90 per cent rise year on year. China proved to be its biggest market by contributing $2.86 million to the earnings, up 123 per cent year on year, according to Vietnam Customs.
DIPT said Vietnam exporters are facing some obstacles in durian exports, notably their post-harvest technology that can only keep the fruit fresh for three to four days, which makes it unsuitable for longer journeys by ship. Vietnam also needs to build strong durian brands in China to compete with market dominators like Thailand and Malaysia.
“Furthermore, the Chinese durian market is becoming fiercer since Laos, Cambodia and the Philippines are also eyeing it, not to mention the fact that Chinese companies are trying to grow their own durians in Yunnan, Hainan and Guangxi,” said the department.