Digging deeper into the pocket to enjoy the “king of fruits”.
Durian prices have skyrocketed due to the poor harvest of the fruit this year. The popular Musang King durian, also known as Mao Shan Wang, is fetching a record price of RM100 per kg.
The lean harvest is due to continuous rainy conditions. The low supply has frustrated local suppliers’ plans to meet rising demand, including from overseas markets.
That wet weather has made it hard for durian trees to bear flowers as they need dry conditions for at least a month to do so.
Reportedly, orchards are seeing a drop of up to 90% in their durian yields, with plantations that usually have two annual seasons, from July to August and October to November, likely to see only one fruitful period this year.
Chang Teik Seng, a durian orchard owner in Penang, said that even the use of chemical fertilisers would not improve the situation, The Straits Times reported today.
“Chemicals only induce flowering but when heavy rain hits, the flowers would still drop,” Chang was quoted as saying. “Organic farms ensure (that) trees are healthier, so it can bear more fruit.”
Tham Siew Kean, whose durian farm in Penang has reportedly had a 90% drop in harvest this year, was cited as stressing that commercial farms resorting to chemicals cannot win against the weather.
On May 12, Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority (Fama) director-general Ahmad Ishak said that the agency had no power to control and set the ceiling price for the Musang King. He said this was because the fruit was not on the list of controlled items.