Vietnam’s famous coffee exports slow as Covid-19 and conflict complicate fruit supply across Southeast Asia


HANOI/VIENTIANE, May 8: China’s zero Covid import policy has disrupted Thailand’s export of durian crops while coffee farmers in Vietnam have resorted to growing avocados and durians due to the high cost fertilizer amid conflict in Ukraine, reports Laotian time.

Fruit imported into China is subject to rigorous Covid inspections, and these slow inspections are causing some highly perishable durian crops to rot. Many rotten durians are sent back to their growers in Thailand, who suffer huge loss of profits.

Thai farmers are also unable to sell their crops profitably in the domestic market, due to low prices caused by the accumulation of non-exportable fruits.

Last month, some 40 tons of durian, along with 20 tons of coconuts, were transported from Thailand to China via the Laos-China Railway, however, China warned Thailand late last month that ‘it could face an export ban if it is unable to solve the problem of Covid-19 found on the packaging.

Meanwhile, in Vietnam, the world‘s most productive robusta coffee producer, many coffee farmers are turning away from coffee farming due to high fertilizer prices.

Growing crops like durian, black pepper and avocado has helped some coffee growers cope with the effect that soaring fertilizer costs have had on their coffee profits.

Yet many coffee growers are reducing their coffee trees, which will likely lead to lower overall coffee production in the future.

Creative efforts can help sell crops in this difficult financial climate, as evidenced by young Thai rapper Milli, who sparked a surge in international mango sales last month by eating a bowl of mango sticky rice on stage at the American music festival Coachella.

A mango grower told Nikkei Asia: “We admire him because his show saved us. We also plan to send her a gift basket of mangoes.


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