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Thai Government Implements Multiple Measures to Boost Fruit Exports


As we enter May, eastern Thailand’s durians are ripening and the export season is in full swing. While the Chinese market is still expanding, competition from neighboring Southeast Asian countries such as Vietnam is putting pressure on Thai fruit.

According to the latest reports, China’s Friendship Pass on the Sino-Vietnamese border in Guangxi imported a total of 48,000 tonnes of fresh durians in the first quarter of this year, valued at 1.85 billion yuan. Of these, 35,000 tonnes were imported from Vietnam, up 48.1 percent year-on-year, worth 1.28 billion yuan (about 6.4 billion baht), while 13,000 tonnes worth 570 million yuan were imported from Thailand, with the volume and value of imports down 59.5 percent and 63.5 percent year-on-year, respectively. The Chinese market durian consumption data also shows that Thailand’s durian “leader” position is shaking.

In response to challenges from countries such as Vietnam, Thai government departments have introduced several incentives to achieve this year’s fruit production, marketing, and export targets. The most important is to shorten transport time. In the past, Thai fruits have encountered congestion problems at border crossings, sometimes taking up to five days to reach China and then return to Mardin, Laos, as well as a shortage of parking spaces for container trucks. Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Commerce, Puttan Wichayachai, revealed that to solve the problem, the Thai side has discussed with the Chinese side and the governor of Xishuangbanna Autonomous Prefecture, suggesting that the opening and closing hours of the border crossing be extended by three hours, from the usual 8 am to 6 pm, i.e., from 8 am to 9 pm, to ease the congestion of trucks in front of the border crossing. China has agreed to this programme and has widened the road from 2 lanes (immigration checkpoints) to 12 lanes, which will shorten the shipping time of durian and mangosteen to China from 5 days to 3 days.

The Thai government will also allocate 3.34 billion baht to provide fruit buyers with low-interest loans at an annual interest rate of 3 percent for up to six months to encourage them to expand their fruit purchases, the Bangkok Post recently reported. The Thai Ministry of Commerce plans to speed up the issuance of certificates to 120,000 farms with Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) certification, encouraging an increase in the production and marketing of fruits such as durian, longan, and mango. The Ministry of Industry has also signed 100,000 tonnes of procurement contracts with fruit producers for the government to purchase fruit directly from fruit producers and put them on the market. The government has also introduced a procurement subsidy policy for another 90,000 tonnes of fruit, with fruit dealers receiving a subsidy of 3 baht (1 yuan = 5.05 baht) for every kilogram of fruit purchased.

In addition, to promote fruit consumption, the Ministry of Industry has introduced an initiative that allows travelers on domestic flights of designated airlines such as Air Asia, Royal Bird Airlines, and Thai Lion Air to check in 20 kg of fruit free of charge. The Thai government has also stepped up efforts to promote Thai fruits in overseas markets. The Thai Trade Promotion Agency (TPA) has also provided support for fruit distributors to participate in agricultural trade fairs abroad. The Thai Ministry of Commerce will also promote the establishment of a one-stop border trade service center and international trade “single window” system, etc., to promote border trade facilitation with neighboring countries to expand fruit exports. Thai Trade Representative Nalermon said the Thai Ministry of Agriculture plans to cooperate with Chinese authorities to open a wider market for agricultural products such as fresh-cut durian and fresh-cut pineapple.

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