The Star 11 Jul 16;
GEORGE TOWN: The supply of durian this year has been affected by the hot weather. Even the branded ones are not spared now.
Bao Sheng Durian Farm owner Chang Teik Seng, 55, said the branded durians were also affected by the prolonged dry weather from January to April.
“If the demand is high, the price will further increase,” he said yesterday.
He added that durian lovers visiting the farm without prior notice could be turned away.
This year, the first durian season started from May to June while the second one is from July 1 to end of August.
“The harvesting took a short break sometime in June,” he said.
Chang said the weather played a vital role in the quality and quan- tity of the fruits as the durian trees need sufficient water to absorb nutrients from the ground.
“With less water, the trees are unable to supply bigger fruits with thicker pulp.
“Even the taste of the durians will be affected.
“That is why the durians are smaller and lighter this year and their pulp is thinner.
“During the dry season, we constantly water the trees but rain- water is still the best,” he said.
Chang, fondly known as ‘Durian Seng’, said it would take between 85 days and 120 days for a durian flower to become a fruit.
“Variants such as 604, Lipan and Xiao Hong take about 90 days, while the Musang King, Hor Lor, Kunpoh, D2 and Kapri take about 100 days.
“Ang Heh (Red Prawn), Lim Fong Jiao, Green Skin 15 and Black Thorn take about 110 days while D15, D18, D11, D88 and Ganjau will take about 120 days,” he added.
Flying to Penang just for durians
The Star 15 Jul 16;
Singaporean Stephen Tan, 55, said the price of durians in his country was “quite ridiculous” now.
The businessman said the Musang King variety, known as Mausan in Penang Hokkien, was sold at a minimum price of S$28 (RM82.50) per kg.
“Those are just the medium-grade ones. The Ang Heh (Red Prawn) is sold at a minimum of S$18 (RM53) per kg. The high prices are due to the low yield this year.
“There was a bigger yield last year and the average price was as low as S$9 (RM26.50) per kg,” he said when met at the Poh Beng Estate durian stall in Jalan Tengah, Bayan Baru.
Stephen came to Penang with his sister Helen, 57, and brother Patrick, 72. After touching down at the airport, they went straight to the stall for a smorgasbord of D24, Ang Heh and Hor Lor durians.
He said durians in Singapore were mainly imported from Batu Pahat and Muar in Johor as well as Pahang.
“Not many durians are sent to Singapore now due to the lower yield and high demand in Malaysia,” he said.
Stephen, who has property in Penang, said he was hoping to eat the Black Thorn but was disappointed to find the variety had run out.
“That’s my personal favourite besides the Cheh Phoy (Green Skin) and Ang Heh.
“I had to place my order two days before coming here,” he said.
Teoh Nai Teik, who is the proprietor of the 35-year-old Ah Teik durian stall at the corner of Jalan Macalister and Lorong Susu, confirmed that a lot of Singaporeans were frequenting his stall.
“They love Musang King even though it is expensive now. I have to sell the variety at RM70 to RM75 per kg now.
“Last year, I could sell them for RM50 per kg.
“They are hard to find now,” he said, adding that the price of his Ang Heh and Hor Lor durians was still reasonable at RM35 per kg.
Durian orchards ripe with theft due to soaring fruit prices
ARNOLD LOH The Star 17 Jul 16;
BALIK PULAU: With durian prices breaking records – a single Musang King can sell up to RM110 here – the king of fruits is attracting not just fans but thieves as well.
So wary is orchard owner Datuk Dr Lim Seh Guan of thieves that he turns around to check at the sound of a motorcycle approaching.
“There are many small orchards here and we don’t fence all around our land. We respect each other’s boundaries.
“But this year, for the first time ever, we saw thieves. They move around by motorcycle several times a day in search of fallen durians,” he said.
Dr Lim, who works as an ear, nose and throat surgeon, tends to the 18 durian trees on his 0.65ha orchard that he bought 15 years ago.
One evening last month, Dr Lim, 53, said he confronted a motorcyclist picking up durians from his neighbour’s land.
“He claimed he was scavenging for recyclables and just wanted a couple of durians to eat. We do allow locals to eat a few for free.
“But the basket on his motorbike was full of durians! My farmhand confronted another motorcyclist doing the same thing and he got threatened,” he said.
He said a seller in town had told him last week that he was “hard up” for premium quality durians.
“His regular customer had reserved 100 prime durians, but there are so few now.”
His neighbour, Lee Min Fun, 59, who has been selling durians for 30 years, sold a single large Musang King fruit for RM110.
“The price of Musang King is now RM50 per kg in Balik Pulau, and RM60 to RM70 per kgin the city.
“Previously, it was RM20 to RM35 per kg,” Lee said, adding that he believed Musang King durians were now all sold out in Balik Pulau.
Lee attributed this shortage to the dry spell from El Nino earlier this year as well as a weaker ringgit, attracting foreigners and spiking export demand.
He said agents were offering to buy in bulk for export to Singapore, China and Hong Kong.
The Star 11 Jul 16;