Harvesting unripe durian can land you in jail for 3 years, govt warns
In a bid to discourage the practice of harvesting and selling unripe durians, Thai authorities issued a statement reminding sellers that it is a criminal offence and carries a penalty of up to three years in prison. Repeat offenders will also face a much harsher penalty.
The Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry on Friday told durian growers, harvesters and middlemen that it is against the law to sell durians that are not fully developed.
According to the Penal Code, any seller who deceives the buyer about the origin, nature, quality or quantity of goods will be jailed for up to three years and/or fined a maximum of 60,000 baht.
The Consumer Protection Act also prohibits sellers from providing false information about the source, condition, quality or essence of goods or services. If found guilty, the violator faces a jail term of up to six months and/or a fine of no more than 100,000 baht. Under this law, repeat offenders will face twice the penalty.
Earlier, the ministry had instructed its Department of Agriculture Extension and provincial agricultural offices in Trat, Chanthaburi and Rayong provinces – Thailand’s key durian growing areas – to ensure only ripe durians are harvested.
The authorities have set a harvesting schedule for popular durian varieties this year. As per schedule, the “Kradum” variety can be harvested from March 20, “Chanee” and “Puang Manee” from April 10 and “Mon Thong” from April 25.
The authorities have also set a minimum level of dryness of flesh to determine the fruit’s ripeness – at least 27 per cent for Kradum, 30 per cent for Chanee and Puang Manee, and 32 per cent for Mon Thong.
These measures are the latest attempt to protect Thailand’s reputation as the best source for durian, dubbed the “king of fruit”. Unripe durians have pale flesh and do not taste good. Thailand earns several billions of baht every year from the export of durian.