Thailand: Fruit exports to China hit B92bn

Thailand exported over 1 million tonnes of fruit valued at 92 billion baht to China during the first half of this year, according to government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana.

He said Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha aims to ramp up exports in various sectors and has laid down a policy to support fruit sales overseas.

Between January and June, Thai exports grew 12.7% from 2021 to exceed US$149 billion (5.5 trillion baht), exceeding the original target of 4-5% for the year as a whole, the spokesman said on Friday, citing information from the Commerce Ministry.

Exports of agricultural products and agro-industrial products contributed substantially to the growth of overall exports worth more than $26.5 billion last month, he said.

Citing information from the Department of Agriculture, Mr Thanakorn said that between Feb 1 and July 21, there were 64,903 shipments of fresh fruit to China, totalling 1.16 million tonnes and worth more than 92 billion baht.

These included the export of more than 670,000 tonnes of durian valued at 72 billion baht, which reflects Chinese consumers’ confidence in the quality and taste of Thai fruit, he said.

In addition to durian, other fruits exported to China include coconut, mangosteen, longan, rambutan and pomelo, the spokesman said.

Moreover, the Department of Agriculture has launched an electronic phytosanitary certificate, or e-Phyto, which helps support and facilitate the export of fruits to China, Mr Thanakorn said.

However, Wisut Chainaroon, a Pheu Thai Party MP for Phayao, has called on the government to pay more attention to the plight of longan growers in the North.

He said longan prices have plunged to their lowest level in 30 years, in contrast to rising global prices of agricultural products.

Moreover, the soaring fertiliser prices have also rubbed salt into the wounds of longan growers, he said.

Mr Wisut said that Thailand is the world’s second-largest longan producer with an output of more than 1 million tonnes a year, second only to China.

But Thailand is also the world’s biggest exporter of longan — whether they are fresh, frozen or dried, Mr Wisut said.

The 1.7 million rai for growing longan in the country — 1.3 million of which are in the North — generate about 30 billion baht for the country each year, he said.

However, calls for aid for longan growers appear to have fallen on deaf ears, the opposition MP bemoaned.