Price of Durian Stabilizes After 50 Percent Fall

Cambodia’s durian sellers are celebrating after a two-month price crash in the fruit due to oversaturation of the local market coupled with an increase in cheaper imports.
A durian farm in Kampot province. Kiripost/stringer
A durian farm in Kampot province. Kiripost/stringer

Local durian sellers and owners said on Thursday that prices have returned after a fall of almost 50 percent in May, while prices of the fruit imported from Thailand and Vietnam remained the same.

Chay Sreysos, owner of a durian plantation in Kampot province, said the market for the fruit fell due to an increase in imports and an oversupply of fruit in the market.

The decline took place during May, when one kilogram cost from 16,000 riels to 17,000 riels and the annual price of durian sat between 20,000 riels and 25,000 riels per kilogram.

She added factors that pushed the price to fall more than in previous years may be an increase in import and local farmers harvesting more fruits this year, causing an oversaturation in the market.

“Durian is abundant this year. Each plantation yields a lot, when it is abundant, it leads to being cheap. If we sell it expensive and other sellers sell it cheaper than us, we cannot sell, especially durians from Thailand that are cheaper than local durians,” she said.

She added she still meets challenges in her business due to heavy costs involved in planting which are not balanced by the money she makes from selling durian.

“We are happy when we can sell a lot but if we try to think again about the money that we get from selling we get only 50 percent from selling and we pay 50 percent for growing so in total, we make nothing,” she said

Durian seller Chem Kunthy told Kiripost she gets both Thai and local durian. She buys local durian for 20,000 riels per kilogram and sells it at 22,000 riels to 23,000 riels per kilogram. Durian from Thailand is sold for between 15,000 riels and 16,000 riels per kilogram depending on the kind of durian.

“I think local durians a few months ago, I had to sell at 15,000 riels per kilogram. It is cheaper than last year, I had more customers come to buy. But for the money I got, it was hard for me to pay money when we decide to buy durians from a local or other”.

She added that she still supports local farmers and buys local durian from farmers to sell, even though Thai durians form almost 30 percent of her business.

“It is my business and if we stop exporting it is a little bit hard because I haven’t done that for nearly 10 years, since we have partnered with both locals and neighbors. I will never forget my local products.”

Durian seller Ly Panith, who sourced durian from Thailand, told Kiripost that the price remains the same as it was many years ago when he sold it for 14,000 riels to 15,000 riels per kilogram. He said his customs still support him.

“I think it is not different from many years ago. I see it still the same, my customs still like to come and buy my durian to eat.”

In 2021, the agricultural sector accounted for 24.4 percent of the national economy, with a total value added of 20,755 billion riels, compared to 20,986 billion riels in 2017.