Ministry sees 15% rise in fruit exports

Ministry sees 15% rise in fruit exports

A trader arranges durians into batches at Simummuang market in Pathum Thani. Nutthawat Wicheanbut

The Commerce Ministry is upbeat about fruit export prospects, predicting outbound shipments to grow by 15% this year while pledging to speed up tackling existing export obstacles and promoting sales via advance contracts.

Speaking after a joint meeting with responsible officials, fruit traders, farmers, wholesalers and retailers, as well as logistics providers, online platforms and financial institutions, Commerce Minister Jurin Laksana­wisit said the ministry has set a target to fetch 287.50 billion baht worth of fruit exports including fresh, frozen, dried and canned fruits.

Of the total, 180 billion baht is expected to stem from China, up 65% from a year before.

Mr Jurin attributed the lofty export target mainly to higher demand for Thai fruits and higher production in the 2022 harvest season.

To boost fruit exports the ministry has already succeeded in promoting fruit sales via advance contracts covering up to 450,000 tonnes — mainly with Chinese buyers, said Mr Jurin.

According to Mr Jurin, in its best bid to facilitate fruit exports to China after they were hit by China’s zero-Covid policy and strict inspection measures at four key border checkpoints — Mohan, Youyi Guan, Dongxing and Pingxiang border gate — the ministry pledged to speed up talks with China to give privileges to open Dongxing border checkpoint to help release Thai fruits.

Currently, Chinese authorities are strictly checking all fruit containers entering the country at the four border checkpoints in line with its zero-Covid policy.

The checking process delays the shipments and sometimes results in some fruit going rotten.

Mr Jurin has also assigned commercial and agricultural counsellors to work with those from the Foreign Affairs Ministry to speed up talks with Lao counterparts to facilitate the transit of fruit shipments via Laos to China.

In addition, the ministry has proposed a joint meeting be held between Thailand, China, Laos and Vietnam to settle on a common protocol to speed up fruit exports and imports and a green lane at each border checkpoint to be given especially to Thai fruits to speed up clearance to avoid damage.

According to an Internal Trade Department report, overall fruit production in the 2022 harvest season is projected to increase by 13% to 5.43 million tonnes, mainly led by durian (up 22%), mangosteen (up 43%), longan (up 7.8%), rambutan (up 6%) and mango (up 5%).

Some 30% of production will be slated for domestic consumption and 70% for exports.

Of the export markets, China is Thailand’s main fruit export market, accounting for 65%, followed by the US (10%), Hong Kong (4%), Vietnam (3%) and Malaysia (1%).