The Malaysian durian season had only just ended when durian processing factories announced a temporary stop of operations in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Manager He, a spokesperson for Malaysia New Leaf Co., Ltd., recently talked about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Malaysian durian industry and the conditions of Malaysian durian export to China in the last stage of the export season.
"The period from January until February is the peak of the Malaysian durian export season. This year, however, the last few weeks of the export season were chaotic. Initially, the outbreak of COVID-19 in China had an impact on their import volume of Malaysian durian. Our sales volume in the last two months is much lower than in the same period last year. Furthermore, the outbreak of COVID-19 created obstacles for distribution and caused a shortage of personnel, which in turn created a backlog in Chinese ports. Many of the refrigerated containers were left unattended and without electricity, which resulted in huge volumes of spoiled fruit. Some traders even returned the containers to their sender to reduce financial loss," explained manager He. "COVID-19 had turned into a pandemic by the end of March. Durian processing factories in Malaysia temporarily halted operations. The peak of the export season was already over and the number of new orders was relatively small. The temporary halt in durian processing therefore did not have a huge impact on the Malaysian durian industry."
"Although durian processing has come to a halt, the durian plantations are still producing as usual. People are still fertilizing, irrigating, and pruning the durian trees. The durian trees are already producing flowers for the next durian production season. The first signs of the new durian are already visible. The number of flowers is extremely high, which indicates a good year for durian plantations. The next harvest is expected to enter the market by the end of June," said Manager He.
"There are more than 200 durian varieties in Malaysia. The Musang King durian is the most popular variety because the supply period is relatively long and because the marketing strategy for this variety is excellent. At the moment, only about 1% of Chinese consumers have eaten Malaysian durian, but Malaysia only recently obtained permission to export refrigerated durian to China. Many durian producers in Malaysia are looking to expand the surface area devoted to durian plantation and thus expand the production volume. They receive support from the Malaysian government as well as investments from large durian exporters. We expect the Malaysian share of the Chinese durian market to grow significantly in the next five years," said manager He.
New Leaf Group is a Malaysian company specialized in the production and export of durian. The company has durian plantations in Pahang, Malaysia. "Our company uses an intelligent, digital management system to regulate durian production. This year we hope to expand the surface area devoted to durian plantation and thus increase our production volume. Our next step is to strengthen our marketing strategy in the Chinese market. We aim for greater exposure online and arrange for promotional activities in online shops. In this way we hope to enable a greater number of Chinese consumers to experience the unique flavor of Malaysian durian."
For more information:
He - Manager
New Leaf Plantation Berhad