Representatives of the Agriculture and Cooperative Ministry, Alibaba Group and farmers’ cooperatives at the signing in Bangkok of an agreement for the purchase of at least 3,000 tonnes of durian for sale in China next year. (Photo: Cooperative Promotion Department)

A subsidiary of Alibaba Group has signed a purchase deal for at least 800,000 durian from farmers’ cooperatives in three eastern provinces next year at above market prices.

The agreement was sealed on Wednesday by representatives of Shanghai Win Chain Supply Management Co (Win Chain), Wangsai Land Settlement Cooperative in Rayong province, Khaosaming Cooperatives in Trat province and Makham Agricultural Cooperative in Chanthaburi province.

Deputy Agriculture and Cooperative Minister Wiwat Salyakamthorn said Alibaba Group intended to sell Thai durian through its and stores in China, so his ministry arranged for a meeting of the buyer and local farmers’ cooperatives on April 19.

At the meeting, Win Chain expressed interest in buying durian directly from growers and setting aside middlemen. Its staff surveyed orchards and cooperatives in the three eastern provinces in late May before concluding the deal.

The deputy minister expected the company to order at least 3,000 tonnes or about 800,000 durian next year. The overall purchase price was estimated at 360 million baht, or 120 baht per kilogramme.

Phichet Wiriyapaha, director-general of the Cooperative Promotion Department, said the three cooperatives were required to gather quality durian and pack the fruit into boxes with Win Chain’s logo for quick export. He said the exports would be both fresh and frozen durian.

The buyer offered to purchase durian above market prices and the deal was an important marketing development for Thai fruit, Mr Phichet said. He expected the cooperation to expand to other kinds of fruit in the future.

News Reporter

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