PETALING JAYA: Malaysian durian farmers are selling their produce more to China, resulting in a shortage in Singapore, which has in turn led to rising prices.
ChannelNews Asia also reported that more Chinese tourists were visiting Malaysian durian farms to buy and sample the “king of fruits”.
The Singapore-based news portal quoted Singapore durian seller Lilian Teo, 60, as saying the exports to China had resulted in a reduced supply of durians to durian sellers in the republic.
She said the Musang King, or Mao Shan Wang durian, was selling for S$8/kg five years ago. Last year, that almost doubled to S$15 per kg, she said.
Currently, durian sellers in Singapore are getting their supply of the popular variety from Pahang at S$28 per kg (RM88 per kg) at the tail-end of the current season.
Durian seller Linda Ang said the higher prices of the fruit had resulted in a 20% fall in demand for durians.
Another seller, Shui Poh Sing, 58, told the portal that Chinese nationals previously obtained their supplies from Thailand.
Now, they were visiting durian farms in Malaysia and getting their durians air-flown from there in vacuumed packs. He said some were willing to pay double what Singaporeans usually pay for the fruit.
Shui said he had noticed that the durian harvest cycles in Johor Bahru, Penang and Malacca had changed.
“The peak durian season is typically from May to August, but it is ‘chaotic’ this year,” he added.
Durians from Johor Bahru were available from February, which is uncommon. He said the change was brought about by changing weather patterns.
Desaru Fruit Farm director Alice Tong said when she started her farm in Johor in 2006, she would see “hundreds” of Chinese tourists per week. Now, she sees thousands of them and they buy in bulk.
The business from tourists makes up one-third of the turnover for the farm now.