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Vietnam "booms" in the durian farming area, promising billions of dollars in exports.

Updated: Oct 2, 2023

The cultivation of durian in Vietnam has witnessed a rapid expansion following the official agreement between the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the General Administration of Customs of China to export durians to China. Currently, the country boasts approximately 100,000 hectares of durian plantations, yielding an annual production of 1.3 million tons. Among these, two regions stand out as the largest contributors to the country's export-standard durian cultivation: Tien Giang province and Dak Lak province.

Durian Boom in the Central Highlands: Cultivation Surges

Durian in the Central Highlands is in season, so people rush to plant
Durian in the Central Highlands is in season, so people rush to plant

Expanding Cultivation and Growth: According to data collected by regional authorities, the durian cultivation area in the Central Highlands has rapidly increased to more than 40,000 hectares. Dak Lak province leads with around 15,000 hectares, followed by Lam Dong with nearly 14,000 hectares, Dak Nong with 5,000 hectares, and Gia Lai with 4,000 hectares. These figures don't account for smaller or intercropped gardens, which could potentially drive up the statistics even further.

Anticipated Yields and Impact: With this expansive cultivation area, the entire Central Highlands is projected to yield substantial durian production, increasing annually. For instance, in Dak Lak, annual durian output already reaches 150,000 tons and is expected to rise to 300,000 tons by 2030. Lam Dong is on the verge of producing nearly 100,000 tons. On average, each hectare of durian yields between 9 to 15 tons per crop cycle, depending on the cultivation methods. This robust production places the Central Highlands at the forefront of Vietnam's durian industry.

Tien Giang durian - expanded area, high danger

Durian garden of a farmer household in Tien Giang province
Durian garden of a farmer household in Tien Giang province

In Tien Giang province, the cultivation area of durian has seen an additional 3,000 hectares, raising the total cultivation area of this fruit to 20,000 hectares. Tien Giang province is leading the nation in terms of durian production. According to provincial statistics, durian has proven to be the most profitable fruit for farmers compared to other crops. To be specific, the estimated profit generated from durian cultivation reaches around 545 million Vietnamese dong per hectare.

Durian's Economic Impact: Durian's economic impact on farmers is undeniable. Its high-profit potential has driven the expansion of durian cultivation, leading to a surge in plantation area across the country. With a booming market demand, particularly from China, durian has emerged as a fruit that not only contributes to agricultural diversification but also empowers farmers to generate substantial income.

Risk of Oversupply Crisis: The Challenge of Durian Overexpansion

Most farmers in the Central Highlands and Tien Giang province of Vietnam have opted for grafted durian trees for cultivation. This choice offers the advantage of quicker harvests, approximately three years earlier than seed planting, while retaining the favorable characteristics of specific durian varieties. However, concerns about the market demand have emerged, not just among local authorities and governing bodies, but also within the farming community itself. Presently, durian exports to China only account for about 20% of Vietnam's total durian production. China has assigned 130 area codes for cultivation and packaging facilities. In Dak Lak province alone, there are 51 designated area codes for cultivation and 25 for packaging, meeting the requirements for approval for export to the Chinese market.

Ongoing Reassessment and Limitations:

According to the agreement signed with China, there will be a review conducted every three years for the granted area codes. Furthermore, intercropped durian areas are excluded from consideration for code assignment. The Director of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in Gia Lai province highlights the increasing concern about rampant durian expansion, not just in Gia Lai, but across all provinces in the Central Highlands.

Challenges and Caution:

While the durian cultivation boom has brought potential economic benefits, it also poses significant challenges, particularly in the context of the market's ability to absorb the increasing supply. The oversupply of durian could lead to a potential crisis in the future, affecting not only local farmers but also the entire supply chain. Balancing expansion with market dynamics and sustainability remains a key consideration for Vietnam' durian industry.

The Dak Lak Durian Association was established with the expectation of contributing to the creation of a large and uniform material area of ​​quality.
The Dak Lak Durian Association was established with the expectation of contributing to the creation of a large and uniform material area of ​​quality.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has approved a national plan for the development of fruit trees until 2025, with a vision extending to 2030. The recommended durian cultivation area falls within 65,000 to 75,000 hectares, projected to yield 830,000 to 950,000 tons. Remarkably, the actual cultivation area and production have already surpassed these projected figures.


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