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China’s Domestic Durians From Hainan Hit Market

July 26, 2023

According to media reports from China’s tropical island province of Hainan, durians grown at Hainan Sanya Yucai Ecological Durian Plantation Base (海南三亚育才生态区榴莲基地) were introduced to the market on July 22. Du Baizhong, general manager of Hainan Youqi Agricultural Company (海南省优旗农业股份有限公司), which runs the plantation base, revealed that this batch of durians has been selling for 120 Chinese yuan ($16.8) per kilogram, although only limited quantities are available for a select few consumers.

Youqi has a durian plantation of 800 hectares in Sanya, the southernmost city of Hainan Island. It is expected that around 85 hectares of this land will be ready for harvesting by the end of July this year. These durians — among China’s first — were listed for pre-sale on the JD.com e-commerce platform in June, with an average unit price of 80–100 yuan ($11.2–14.0) per kilogram.

The main selling point for Hainanese durians is that almost all of them are allowed to fall naturally from the tree, which translates to a superior flavor and stronger aroma. According to Youqi, the company is planning to establish offline sales channels by opening physical stores in cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, with the online channels mostly intended to attract consumers for trial tasting.

Durian cultivation in Hainan began as early as the 1950s, but it was not until very recently that there were reports of successful outcomes, primarily owing to the fact that durians have strict requirements in terms of cultivation techniques and growing conditions. Of all the durian trees introduced by researchers in the early years, only one ultimately survived.

Feng Xuejie, head of the Institute of Tropical Fruit Trees at the Hainan Academy of Agricultural Sciences, explained that durians have a longer growth cycle compared with other types of fruit, taking six to seven years to bear fruit. Moreover, the trees thrive in a climate that is warm in winter and cool in summer with humidity ranging from 75% to 85%. Unfortunately, negative factors such as typhoons, pests and diseases can significantly affect their growth progress. Moreover, given that mature durian trees can reach heights of over 20 meters, the cost of harvesting is relatively high.

Currently, Zhou Zhaoxi and his team at the Tropical Crop Germplasm Research Institute have successfully developed a durian dwarfing cultivation method based on Hainan’s unique climatic characteristics. This innovative approach effectively mitigates losses caused by natural disasters such as typhoons while also reducing harvesting costs. Remarkably, dwarfed plants that have been cultivated for five years can yield over 20 durians per tree. The rapid advancement in domestic durian cultivation technologies has brought about hopeful prospects for the development of durian varieties with independent intellectual property rights.

Image: Pixabay

This article was translated from Chinese. Read the original article.

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