Durian Crackdown: Thailand to jail farmers who sell unripe stinky fruits

Photo: Department of Agriculture Extension
Photo: Department of Agriculture Extension

Thailand’s Department of Agriculture Extension has instructed each province to appoint inspectors to ensure that their farmers are selling ripe durians to the market, or face jail time.

It’s durian season, and as durians are fast becoming a prime product in China (as Jack Ma recently demonstrated by selling 80,000 durians on his platform in just one minute), the high demand has increased the price of the stinky “king of fruits” to THB110 (about US$3.5) per kilo this year, according to department spokeswoman Daret Kittiyopas.

With prices this high, the fear is that farmers may collect unripe durians to keep up with the demand and harm Thailand’s carefully maintained durian standards.

The department has instructed the provincial sectors to prevent unripe durians from entering the export market, as well as to educate farmers on the appropriate time to harvest durian.

Those who are found selling unripe durians may be charged under the country’s trademark laws and face a hefty three-year jail term as well as a fine of up to THB60,000 (US$1,900).

Meanwhile, the department is advising consumers to check their durian before buying.

So how do you know if it’s a ripe durian you’re buying? First, the joint has to be dark and rough in texture. Second, check the shell — the tip of the thorns should be dry, dark brown, and fragile.

Of course, another tip most durian lovers are well aware of is to check the smell. If there’s no smell at all, chances are that the durian is not ripe. If the smell is too strong, it’s probably overripe.

We all know how painful it is to watch people eating unripe durians and deciding they hate the king of fruit.

Look at that sad, pale durian.


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