(Kuala Lumpur, September 15, 2020) Malaysia expects durian production to pass 440,000 tonnes by 2030 and plans are being made to maximize the fruit’s potential.

Malaysian authorities have forecast the country’s durian production is expected to increase to 443,000 metric tonnes by 2030.

According to a report from the Malay Mail, Khalid Ibrahim, marketing and export division secretary of Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industries (MAFI), said the projection is based on 2019 data, which saw Malaysia record 72,536ha of durian cultivation and production of 384,170 tonnes.

DurianKhalid said export demand has and would continue to drive the industry’s growth. He noted in 2018, 23,381 tonnes of durian worth RM118.2m (US$28.5m) was exported to the country’s five major export destinations for durian: Singapore, Hong Kong, US, China and Vietnam.

At the end of last year MAFI had outlined plans to establish a durian-tourism industry to attract foreign tourists but the Covid-19 pandemic had caused delays.

However, Khalid was enthusiastic about new plans to promote Malaysian durian using social media in cooperation with local university students from China.

“During the Durio Tour @ Raub 2020 programme, MAFI brought six China international students, five media influencers and two Chinese embassy representatives on an orchard and durian discovery,” Khalid said.

“These social media influencers have hundreds of thousands of followers. I think that their videos will go viral here and in China.”

It is hoped that these efforts will support Malaysia’s push to increase the demand and value of durian investment to China and show international consumers how to tell the Musang King and other durian varieties available in the market apart.

He said that the programme is also aimed at strengthening ties between durian industry players and MAFI, including promoting Malaysia as the world’s top producer of premium durian 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 premium quality.”  It is brought directly from the orchard to the factory for the freezing process to maintain it 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 with approval from the General Administration of Customs China (GACC), including 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.