durian manhkhuong.jpg
Illustrative photo (Photo: Manh Khuong)

In the past, durian flooded Hanoi’s markets and pavement stores with low prices. The supply was so plentiful that farmers had to call on people to buy durian to save farmers from losses. 

However, durian has been unavailable in the market over the last few years. 

That is why durian Cao Thanh Loan from Thanh Xuan district in Hanoi no longer buys durian when going shopping.

Yesterday, Loan was excited seeing durian at an online shop and immediately contacted the shop owner and asked about the price. To her surprise, the seller said Ri6 VIP durian flesh was priced at VND850,000 per kilogram, while unpeeled durian sold at VND265,000 per kilogram. In the past, she had bought durian at just VND70,000-100,000 per kilogram.

“The time of cheap durian is over. With current prices, only well-off families can afford durian prices,” said Phung Van Kien, a wholesaler of durian in Ba Dinh district in Hanoi.

Kien said durian prices have surged since the day Vietnam’s durian obtained the right to export to the Chinese market. This is not durian season, but merchants are still looking for off-season fruits, thus making durian more and more expensive.

While Ri6 durian flesh VIP is selling at VND850,000 per kilogram, frozen flesh is VND550,000, which are the highest prices so far, according to Kien.

However, even when buyers accept the sky-high prices, they sometimes cannot find durians to buy.

The owners of other durian shops confirmed that durian is extremely expensive now. Ri6 and Monthong durian flesh sell at VND550,000-850,000 per kilogram, while unpeeled durian is VND220,000-280,000. Durian supply comes in ‘dribs and drabs’, because it is now not the season. Other shops have stopped selling durian temporarily because of high prices.

Vietnam is one of the largest durian growers in the world with 130,000 hectares of durian growing area which yields 1 million tons a year.

Durian prices have soared since Vietnam began exporting durian to China through official channels. In 2023 alone, durian exports to China brought turnover of $2.1 billion.

According to Bui Van Cong, a big collector of durian in Can Tho, half of durian output previously was sold domestically, while the remaining half was exported. But now, only 15 percent is sold in the domestic market.

Asked about durian prices in the future, Cong said once Vietnam obtains the license to export frozen durian to China, the prices will be even higher, including durian from the main crop.

US$1 = VND25,000

Tam An