Global Durian Production

Thailand and Malaysia are the two largest producers of Durian fruit globally, together believed to account for up to 90% of global production. In 2016, Thailand produced 600 million KG of Durian fruit, while Malaysia produced approximately 400 million KG. The Philippines was the third largest producer globally with 71.5 million KG. Thailand’s production is predominately exported, with production in Malaysia and the Philippines consumed domestically.

Between 80-90% of Thailand’s Durian production has been exported annually between 2012 and 2017, primarily to China. Thailand is in fact one of China’s largest suppliers across a variety of fruits and vegetables, in addition to Durian, due to the Free Trade Agreement signed between the countries in June 2003. Under the agreement, tariffs for 188 types of fruits and vegetables were cut to zero resulting in Thailand’s produce flooding the Chinese market and dominating market share. As can be seen below, Thailand has been supplying China with essentially all their imports of Durian. Monthong Durian is the main variety exported due to its flavour being sweeter than other Thai varieties and more appealing to Chinese and foreign markets. Monthong can also be kept under suitable conditions for a longer time, around 20 days without overly softening or spoiling. This feature allows Monthong to be exported to more distant markets than possible with other Thai varieties. Unlike in Thailand, Malaysian Durian production has almost entirely been based on domestic consumption. Malaysia’s Durian exports surprisingly account for less than 5% of total production compared to over 60% for Thailand.

Chinese Imports of Durian Fruit

(Reported Import Value, ‘000 USD)

Global Thailand Malaysia
2011 2,34,303.80 2,34,303.50 0.30
2012 3,99,752.60 3,99,751.70 0.92
2013 5,43,165.40 5,43,165.10 0.34
2014 5,92,624.80 5,92,624.80
2015 5,67,886.40 5,67,883.90 2.46
2016 6,93,578.70 6,93,577.20 1.54

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