This season the production volume of Malaysian durian showed a significant decline. On top of that the cost price of transport is extraordinarily high because of the pandemic. That is why the export of Malaysian durian is under pressure. Manager He, spokesperson for New Leaf Plantation Berhad, recently talked about conditions in the Malaysian durian industry.
According to manager He, durian flowers require a solid week of tropical heat to develop. Last year the flowering season took place in September and October, but the wet season in Pahang arrived earlier than usual, so the volume of flowers was smaller than in the previous year. The weather has been rainy since then. The last four months have been overcast, rainy, and relatively cold. That is why only a small number of the flowers developed into fruit. Some of the durian production areas even suffered from flooding because of the rainy weather. The overall production volume of Malaysian durian declined by around 20%.
New Leaf Plantation Berhad primarily exports durian to China, Hong Kong, and Singapore. The durian market always enjoys a sales peak in the period leading up to Chinese Spring Festival [12 February, 2021]. The gift-wrapped, premium durian are particularly popular with Chinese consumers. "The number of chartered flights declined due to the outbreak of Covid-19. And the cost price of transport went up. Add to this situation the reduced supply volume, and it is understandable that the price goes up. The price went up by 10%-20% compared to the same period last year. However, market demand remains strong. Some other frozen fruits are quite popular as well."
"The price rise of Malaysian durian does not seem to have an impact on Chinese consumer demand. The demand for Malaysian Musang King durian is as strong as ever. The Malaysian government and Chinese importers associations continue to promote the durian trade, and we have no doubt that the Chinese market for Malaysian durian has huge potential. Knowledge and appreciation of durian is something that can be cultivated. Many Chinese consumers had never tried the Musang King durian, but once they tasted this durian king, they turned into genuine 'Musang King durian fans'. We are now focusing our attention on the market in Hong Kong. We invest in online marketing and offer discounts in online stores to make sure even more consumers become aware of the unique, delicious flavor of Malaysian durian."
The volume of Thai durian in the Chinese market has steadily grown in the last few years. When asked about the differences with Malaysian durian, manager He replied, "other production areas all harvest their durian before they are fully ripe. They are artificially ripened after the harvest, and sometimes only ripen completely upon arrival in the destination market. This has a huge impact on the flavor. The Malaysian durian industry continues to practice traditional harvesting methods. Plantation workers wait until the durian is completely ripe before the fruit is harvested. Only if the durian falls off the tree naturally is it ready for the market. The product quality of these durian is better and the flavor is more delicious, but the shelf life is shorter. The fruit will spoil after three days or so. That is why the fruit is quick-frozen with liquid nitrogen technology and sealed in vacuum packaging. Every step of the process, from harvest and processing to transport and retail, requires careful attention to maintain the highest standard of product quality. When the fruit is overripe the fermentation process begins to release a strong smell. We pay attention to product quality all the way until the final step when the durian is sold. That way we can guarantee that the consumer enjoys ripe Malaysian durian when the flavor is at its most exquisite. That is why Malaysian durians are unique and maintain a strong market position despite competition from other durian."
New Leaf Plantation Berhad is a Malaysian export company specialized in the production and export of Malaysian durian products. The company owns a durian plantation in Pahang, Malaysia.
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New Leaf Plantation Berhad