RAUB: Durian production in the country is expected to increase to 443,000 tonnes by 2030, from 384,170 tonnes last year.
The agriculture and food industries ministry’s marketing and export division secretary Khalid Ibrahim said the projection is based on the 2019 crop statistics which found that 72,536ha are now under durian cultivation.
Khalid said Pahang, Johor and Sarawak are the main sources of the fruit, with 89,916 tonnes coming from Pahang, 87,838 tonnes from Johor and 34,650 tonnes from Sarawak.
“Raub in Pahang is the main producer of the Musang King durian. This district has 11,201ha cultivated with durian and produced 70,650 tonnes worth RM1.3 billion.
“Musang King (D197), D24, Duri IOI (D168) and Durian Kampung are the popular varieties grown here,” he said at a Durio Tour @ Raub 2020 programme recently.
Khalid added that a total 23,381 tonnes of durian worth RM118.2 million were exported in 2018 and that the five major export destinations are Singapore, Hong Kong, US, China and Vietnam.
In October 2019, the ministry told farmers and tourism industry players that it wanted to step up durio-tourism to attract more foreign tourists but the Covid-19 pandemic got in the way.
However, Khalid is still optimistic the country will achieve its aim after a new method of promotion was introduced using social media and the participation of several local university students from China.
“During the Durio Tour @ Raub 2020 programme, the ministry brought along six China international students, five media influencers and two Chinese embassy representatives on an orchard and durian discovery.
“These social media influencers have hundreds of thousands of followers. I think that their videos will go viral here and in China,” he said.
Khalid hoped that the promotion will be continued to help increase demand and the export value of durians to China, as well as show international durian lovers how to tell apart Musang King and other varieties available in the market.
He said the programme is also aimed at strengthening ties between durian industry players and the ministry, including promoting Malaysia as the world’s top producer of premium durians and newer products by the agro-food sector.
Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority (Fama) market promotion senior director Rosilawati Abu Hassan said the programme will have a positive impact on demand from China for frozen durian, increasing its export value.
“The Musang King durian exported to China is of premium quality. It is brought directly from the orchard to the factory for the freezing process to maintain its quality.
“The freezing process is done on the same day. First, the durian is cleaned then it goes into a blast freezer at -80˚C to -110˚C for at least an hour.
“Next, it is vacuum packed and kept in a cold room at -18˚C. It will stay fresh for up to six months here. During the journey to China, it will be stored at -18˚C as well to prevent damage,” she said.
Rosilawati said that as at Feb 25, there were 14 whole fruit durian freezing facilities approved by the General Administration of Customs China (GACC), and these are maintained by PHG Ever Fresh Food (M) Sdn Bhd, Top Fruits Sdn Bhd, Exofruits Industry Sdn Bhd, JL Food Industries Sdn Bhd and Kami Food Services Sdn Bhd.
This time, the Durio Tour @ Raub 2020 visited Dataran Durian, Zamri Othman Agro Farm, Lembah Temir Resort and PHG Ever Fresh Food (M) Sdn Bhd.