"The Chinese import volume of Malaysian durian was relatively small in the last few weeks. Malaysia has closed its borders for general traffic, but still allows the export of some products. Global distribution suffers from the isolation measures in place to restrict the spread of COVID-19.
Although many export products are still allowed across the borders, the procedures take much longer than usual. This is not just the case for Malaysian durian, but the durian from Thailand currently experience similar conditions. The peak of the durian production season has just begun in Thailand. However, Thailand has also closed its borders and greatly reduced the speed of durian export. In addition, Thailand has placed a limit on the overall volume of durian with permission for export to the Chinese market. Add to this the isolation measures for visiting traders, and the overall pace of durian trade significantly slowed down. In the end, export is still possible, but the speed is much slower than before and the overall volume is smaller too." This is according to Da Fei.
"We were still selling durian around Chinese Spring Festival [25 January, 2020]. We did not close down because of the holiday period precisely because during this festive time of year the overall market demand for durian is very strong. The sales conditions were quite pleasing. However, we decided to reduce the import volume slightly because China was struggling with the outbreak of COVID-19 at the time. We mostly sold our durian to old customers. Our loyal customers guarantee a stable demand for our durian. We still have quite a lot of Musang King durian available.
"Our online sales greatly outnumber offline sales because many people are still staying in isolation at home and prefer to purchase fruit online instead of in person. This is one of the most obvious trends in the Chinese market these days."
"Nobody knows for certain whether the durian price will drop as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. There are two main durian production areas in Malaysia. The production seasons take place from July until August and from November until February in the subsequent year. The supply volume is larger during the second production season. The overall production volume was relatively small this year and visiting traders competed to secure sufficient supply. The price was therefore quite high.
"The price in November and December was twice the price of July and August. Furthermore, the majority of Malaysian durian was sold before the COVID-19 began to limit distribution and other sales conditions. They were sold at high prices. The price of Malaysian durian is not likely to drop this year. If you ask us, the price will continue to rise even further because there is a strong demand and a limited supply volume."
Building the "Da Fei" brand
"We worked hard this year to establish our brand. And we paid careful attention to the product quality of our durian. We established this brand four years ago. However, we are a growing company and we need to strictly control our operations from distribution and processing to fruit selection. We need to keep a close eye on operations in order to improve development and maintain high product quality. Our brand represents product quality. Me and my team personally select the highest quality fruit. We hope to continue to build on this solid foundation."
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