May 10, 2022 @ 9:15am
GEORGE TOWN: The price of durian is determined by supply and demand, the Agriculture and Food Industries Ministry said yesterday.
Its deputy minister, Datuk Seri Ahmad Hamzah, said durians were a free-market commodity.
He said, however, the Department of Agriculture did introduce in 2020 standards for premium durian kampung, which was graded on quality of flesh and appearance of fruit.
"This allowed consumers to have alternatives to the famous varieties, such as Musang King (D197), Black Thorn (D200) and Bukit Merah (D24).
"We are encouraging investments in durian cultivation to meet local and export demand. Demand for Malaysian durian has increased tremendously in the past five years, especially from China.
"Therefore, this will help alleviate the supply and demand problem, and stabilise the price of durians. It also creates more jobs," he said in response to the New Sunday Times front-page report that durians could cost between 30 and 40 per cent more per kilogramme this season.
Ng Wei Dave, 40, who manages his family's durian orchard in Sungai Ara in Bayan Lepas, had said rainy weather and increased fertiliser and pesticide prices had raised the price of durians.
The Consumers' Association of Penang (CAP) had urged the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry to set the price of durian.
CAP president Mohideen Abdul Kader said durian farmers and sellers had told the consumer watchdog that the price might go up due to high demand.
Ahmad said climate change had caused unpredictable weather that reduced durian harvests due to poor flower pollination.
He also said the growth of new leaves during the flowering season could cause nutrient competition, weakening pollen and reducing fruit development.
"Frequent rain also contributes to less fruit formation.
"This problem is expected to occur nationwide," he said.
Ahmad said farmers needed to be educated on durian orchard management to mitigate the effects of the weather on durian harvests.
"Fertiliser prices doubled as the Russia-Ukraine conflict intensified. Price increases of raw material to produce fertiliser is a global issue and not only affects Malaysia.
"Indirectly, this hike in fertiliser price will cause growers to reduce the amount of fertilisers applied, which will reduce durian harvests."
Editor: New Straits Time
(All the credits go to the Source)