China-grown durian should not have any serious impact on Thai durian exports given limited supplies in China and the pleasant taste of Thai durian, according to representatives of the private sector.
Sumit Khiawkhajee, secretary-general of the eastern chapter of the Federation of Thai SME, said on Sunday that the cultivation of durian in other countries including Vietnam, Cambodia and lately China certainly provided more competition, but there were other factors supporting international demand for Thai durian.
He was responding to a report that China was successfully growing durian in Hainan province and expected its first harvest in June.
Factors supporting Thai exports were cultivation knowledge, climate and varieties which resulted in different durian quality and quantity, he said.
“Even in Thailand, durian products from different areas have different quality and prices. This happens to every kind of produce,” Mr Sumit said.
He added that China was vast and there was still high demand for Thai durian from inland Chinese cities. Chinese people viewed Thai durian as premium products and were willing to pay for its pleasant taste, he said.
“I surveyed the Chinese market and talked to Thai farmers and traders and found that there is enough supply of Thai durian only in border Chinese areas – it has not reached inland provinces and 4-5 major cities in China. Chinese traders are competing fiercely to buy it. I believe the market can grow further by 5-10 fold,” said Mr Sumit, who is also deputy mayor of Trat’s Muang municipality.
Paijit Wiboonthanasan, secretary-general of the Thai-Chinese Promotion of Investment and Trade Association, said that regarding China-grown durian, Thai durian might be at a price disadvantage, but the very low supply of China-grown durian should not have any negative impact on Thai durian exports.
If Chinese durian does not taste good and focuses on relatively low prices, it will not have an image of a premium product and well-to-do Chinese people may not buy it as gifts for lovers, family members and others, Mr Paijit said.
However, he said, Thailand should seriously develop its durian varieties and promote them among Chinese people.
Durian should be developed and included on food and beverage menus in China, Mr Paijit said.
Article source: https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/2531605/chinese-durian-seen-as-no-threat-to-thai-exports