KOTA KINABALU: There is huge potential for durian farming in Malaysia given the high demand for the King of Fruits in China.

Consul General of the People’s Republic of China in Kota Kinabalu, Liang Caide said the supply of durians was insufficient to meet the demand of the massive China market.

He said over 1.6 million durian trees were planted over 660,000 hectares of land in Malaysia.

“The yearly production of durians amounted to 300,000 tonnes in Malaysia, while about 500 tonnes to 800 tonnes of durians are exported to China.”

He said this during a courtesy call on the Sabah United Chinese Chambers of Commerce (SUCCC) led by Tan Sri Andrew Liew here yesterday.

In comparison, Liang said Thailand exported 300,000 tonnes of durians to the China annually, which was equivalent to the yearly production of Malaysian durians.

Liang said people in China loved durians imported from Malaysia as our durians were harvested when the fruits are ripe and drop to the ground.

“Although durians from Thailand are only selling for less than 20 RMB per kilogramme in China, the fruits are harvested before they are ripe.

“People in China love durians produced in Malaysia.

“There is huge potential for durian farming in Malaysia.”

He added that Malaysian durians exported to China had to undergo a freezing process to eliminate the risk of contamination when they come into contact with the ground.

On another note, Liang clarified his recent statement pertaining to the proposed setting up of a mechanism, including a quarantine complex to facilitate the export of Sabah products to China.

Liang said he had suggested the Sabah State Government discuss with the relevant authorities in China on the possibility of setting up an inspection centre in order for local agricultural products to be exported directly to China without having to go through inspection in Kuala Lumpur.

He said the export of local products would incur higher costs and be less competitive if they had to be inspected in West Malaysia.