BANGKOK (The Nation/Asia News Network): The government has tightened Covid-19 controls on durian exports after China temporarily blocked Thai shipments of the fruit earlier this month.
Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Chalermchai Srion has ordered all cold-chain storage operators to ensure their durians are certified under the Zero Covid standard.
“The ministry has instructed growers to adhere to the GAP [Good Agricultural Practice] Plus standard, while processors of durians must also follow the GMP [Good Manufacturing Practice] Plus to ensure the highest quality of Thailand’s No 1 export fruit,” he said on Monday (April 25).
Cold storage operators must make sure that all fruits are free of Covid-19 or they risk being rejected by foreign markets, Chalermchai told the “Eastern Monthong Best Quality” event hosted by the Thai Durian Association in Chanthaburi.
Chanthaburi governor Suthee Thongyaem added that the province has instructed cold chain operators and resellers to disinfect their facilities and vehicles regularly, as well as vaccinate all their staff and have them undergo ATK testing every week to meet the Zero Covid standard.
“We organised this event to urge all durian-export stakeholders to focus on Covid-19 preventive measures, which were lacking in the past,” he said.
Suthee was referring to China’s April 12-14 block on durians imported from Thailand after traces of Covid-19 virus were found in a fruit shipment at the Mohan border checkpoint.
During the event, the minister, governor and Thai Durian Association representatives witnessed Covid-19 controls at the durian storage facility of Lis Inter Corporation, one of Chanthaburi’s largest food export factories.
Durian production in Chantaburi and other the eastern provinces is up 26.42 per cent from last year to 732,330 tonnes as of April.
The eastern region expects May’s production total to reach 370,715 tonnes.