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Malaysia Anticipates Start of Fresh Durian Exports to China in 2024

December 25, 2023

According to Malaysia’s Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Chan Foong Hin, exports of fresh durians to China will commence next year. He stated that the beginning of exports would coincide with the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between China and Malaysia, which is slated to be celebrated on May 31.

The statement came after China Customs and Malaysia’s Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security signed a six-point agreement on Malaysian fresh durian exports to China in October of this year. As noted by Chan, the Chinese side had expressed their willingness to accelerate the risk assessment of the fruit, and both sides had agreed to collaborate on promoting quarantine inspection processes.

Chan highlighted that only fully ripe durians would be exported to China in order to ensure the finest flavor for Chinese consumers. This, however, could pose certain transportation challenges owing to the shorter shelf life of ripe durians.

Members of the industry and the Agricultural Research and Development Institute of Malaysia are currently assessing various modes of transportation, including air and sea freight. According to estimates, durians could reach China within 48 hours after being harvested at farms if transported by air. This timeframe includes customs clearance as well as the four-hour flight time from Kuala Lumpur to Nanning. Experts also emphasize the importance of adopting a pre-sale method that enables Chinese consumers to receive the fruit shortly after arrival in China.

Regarding packing solutions, existing options reportedly guarantee the freshness of the fruit for a minimum of seven days and a maximum of 21 days, presenting favorable opportunities for sea freight as well. Once the export protocol between the two countries has been finalized, the Malaysian fruit sector plans to establish a comprehensive export process for the next season, which typically lasts from May to September.

Considering the presence of fresh Thai and Vietnamese durians on the Chinese market, experts have also recommended the creation of a Malaysian durian logo to distinguish Malaysia’s Musang King durians from fruit originating elsewhere. Given recent reports, it is difficult to argue that Thai and Vietnamese Musang King exports to China proceeded without difficulties this year. Vietnam, which began farming Musang King durians in 2017, saw prices fall to an all-time low owing to a drop in fruit quality. Meanwhile, Thailand faced claims of fruit forgery in June, with allegations that some Thai traders re-exported durians purchased in Malaysia to China under the label of “Thai Musang King.”

In 2023, Malaysia produced 455,458 metric tons of durians, 10% of which were shipped frozen to China, Hong Kong and Singapore. Malaysia has been exporting frozen durian products to China since 2011 and frozen whole durians since May 2019.

Image: Pexels

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