BANGKOK: Durian performs an important function within the Thai economic system as a result of the fruit is far cherished in its key export market – China.
In 2021, Thailand exported greater than 875,000 tonnes of the spiky fruits to China. This generated not less than US$3.4 billion, in response to statistics from the Agriculture Department.
This 12 months, the nation goals to export much more durians as bigger harvests are anticipated, however China’s zero-COVID-19 policy may have an hostile influence on Thailand’s durian export within the coming season.
The stringent technique has brought about visitors congestion at numerous border crossings, the place 1000’s of vans carrying meals provides from Southeast Asia endure inspection for the coronavirus.
Thai business gamers stated in case of detection, the products could be destroyed and the border could possibly be closed for a number of days or perhaps weeks.
Already, many farmers in Thailand have been affected, particularly throughout final 12 months’s longan season.
“The damage was immense, with tens of thousands of tonnes of the fruits estimated to have spoiled,” stated Mr Chonlatee Numnoo, director of the Agricultural Research and Development Office in Region 6.
Region 6 is house to Thailand’s greatest durian producers, which incorporates the jap provinces of Chanthaburi, Rayong and Trat.
According to Mr Chonlatee, the manufacturing of durians within the jap area alone is predicted to succeed in 740,000 tonnes this 12 months, to not point out 210,000 tonnes of mangosteens – one other essential export to China.
“It’s difficult for us to control it because there are chances of detection by random checks. Moreover, given the current situation of COVID-19, the Omicron variant is easily transmitted and spreads fast. So, we’re quite concerned,” he informed CNA.
To minimise dangers of contamination and stop pointless delays, Thailand has been working by itself zero-COVID-19 technique at durian farms and packing homes.
This consists of finishing up COVID-19 testing for staff recurrently, necessities for facial masks and gloves, physique temperature screening, in addition to disinfecting the produce, the packaging and the autos that might transport them throughout the borders.
“We must ensure our packing houses are free from COVID-19,” Mr Chonlatee stated. “Even for the drivers who will bring in trucks, we also have control measures for them. For example, they have accommodation specially designated for them.”
There are 702 packing homes for export fruits in jap Thailand, 630 of that are positioned in Chanthaburi.