Chinese Companies Target Laos for Durian Plantations

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Chinese companies hope to start durian plantations in Laos

Chinese companies are seeking to lease up to almost 5,000 hectares of land in Vientiane Capital to establish durian plantations.

According to Produce Report, the Chinese companies are interested to establish durian plantations aimed at exporting the fruit back to China.

Chinese farmers have begun to grow various fruits in Laos for export back to China. By 2020, a total of 239 Chinese companies have invested USD 590 million in agriculture and forestry in Laos, making China the country’s largest agricultural investor.

According to the list of fresh fruits permissible for import to China (issued by China’s General Administration of Customs), Laos is currently only permitted to export bananas and watermelons to China.

Durian on sale in Paksong, Laos
Durian on sale in Paksong, Laos

Meanwhile, the durian cultivars currently grown in Laos are outdated, expected to have limited competitiveness in the Chinese market, as Laos has only begun growing durian within the last ten years with a very small volume available on the local market each year. The local commercial farms are located mainly in the cooler southern plateau of the country, with young trees bearing fruit with a low percentage of pulp.

China relies almost completely on imports for its durian, the majority of which originate in Thailand and Malaysia, even as durians have replaced cherries as the top fruit imported into China.

The country imported 575,000 tons of durians worth a total of USD 2.3 billion last year.