Durian prices rise as bad weather hits crops and labor, fertilizer costs rise


SINGAPORE – He wasn’t keen on raising durian prices, but Mr. Zen Ho, the founder of Durian Empire, was forced to charge more for the fruit this season.

The price of Malaysian king musang durians at Punggol’s Durian Empire was between $15 and $18 per kg before the pandemic, but Ho estimates the variety will now cost between $20 and $25 per kg.

Mr. Ho, 39, said, “The cost price of durians is higher than last season because the harvest is worse this year.

“The season is getting longer and the harvest is spread over a longer period. We need stamina to stay in the game.

The durian season started this month (June) and is expected to continue until September.

Considered the “king of fruits”, Singapore gets 89% of its durians from Malaysia, with the rest coming from Thailand and the Philippines, according to the Singapore Food Agency in 2020.

Malaysian newspaper The Star in February and May predicted durian prices to be 40% higher now than last year due to higher fertilizer and labor prices, and bad weather affecting the pollination of durian flowers.

Mr Wong Hua Chian, owner of Malaysian supplier Pochi Durian Trading, based in Johor, said prices had risen due to bad weather in March, which caused only 20-30% of the crop to bear fruit.

Demand from China, Hong Kong and Europe further limited supply.

The company supplies durians to seven vendors in Singapore, and Mr Wong, 36, said: “We have to balance the demands of China and Singapore because it all depends on market forces and who will buy the durian. durian at a more competitive price”.

Mr Teoh See Yong, who operates Durian 36 fruit stall in Geylang, said he was told by his Malaysian suppliers that prices had risen due to a shortage of foreign labor and the increase fertilizer costs.

For Malaysia’s premium durian varieties such as king musang and blackthorn, prices are expected to double this season.

Most durian lovers here prefer the Malaysian varieties. Mr Teoh, 37, said: “Malaysian durians have a strong and pungent aroma because they naturally fall from the tree, unlike Thai durians cut from the tree.

“Singaporeans prefer the natural, pungent aroma of Malaysian durians to the milder aroma of Thai durians.”


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