An Overview Of The Durian Cultivation In Malaysia | PEJABAT TIMBALAN NAIB CANSELOR (PENYELIDIKAN & INOVASI)
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An Overview of the Durian Cultivation in Malaysia

ORIGIN AND DISTRIBUTION

Borneo, Sumatra, and Peninsular Malaysia are believed to be the native and geographic origin and centre of diversity of durian. But the earliest record of durian cultivation in the world was found on Java Island. The durians were carved about 1,300 years ago on one of the panels at Borobudur Temple, near Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Apart from durians, other tropical fruits like mango, jackfruit, duku, banana, coconut, and lontar were also carved. 

One of the popular durian outlets in Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia

In South East Asia, durian is known as the “King of Fruits”. In Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Philippines durians are sought after and savoured by a lot of durian lovers. Although it is pungent in aroma, the durian has become extremely popular in Asian countries due to its high nutritional value and the widespread acceptance of its processed products.

DURIAN PRODUCTION

Durian cultivation used to be a small scale operation in Malaysia. Many were characterised by smallholdings or “dusun” of half or one hectare each, and usually intercropped with other fruit trees. Farmers did not regard fruit-growing as a money spinner, compared to other commercial crops such as oil palm, rubber and cocoa. With decreasing price for oil palm, rubber, and cocoa, interest in durian farming has increased over time. Since the last couple of years, durian has been highlighted as one of the selected fruits to be grown in the Malaysian National Agro-food Policy (2011-2020). Durian has also been identified as a new source of agricultural wealth.

INCREASED INTEREST IN DURIAN CULTIVATION

Since the price of Musang King durian variety has increased steadily reaching over RM100.00 per kg in July 2017, interest in durian cultivation has increased many folds. Durian has become the most popular crop planted in Malaysia making up to 41% of the land cultivated or about 70,000 hectares. Nowadays, durian especially Musang King, is considered as a gold commodity and a new source of income for Malaysia. For 2016 the production area decreased slightly so does the production. This was due to the prolong drought condition in the major growing areas in Johor and Pahang. Since 2018 the cultivated area and production has increased back to about 73,000 hectares.

 
D197 Raja Kunyit or Musang King

The demand for frozen and fresh durians especially Musang King from China is increasing every year. The overall export volume of Malaysian durian expanded by 143% in the 5 years between 2012 and 2017. In that same period, the price increased by 530%. The overall cultivated area devoted to durian plantation in Malaysia also doubled several times in the same period. In May 2019, Malaysia obtained permission to export frozen durian to the Chinese market. When this news came out, many farmers and plantation owners including investors from China are eager to take advantage of this golden opportunity. They plan to further increase the production volume and meet the growing Chinese market demand. GLOBAL DURIAN TRADE AND DEMAND Currently global durian trade is dominated by two countries, Thailand and China, as the primary exporters and importers, respectively. In 2016, Thailand exported 402 million kg of durian fruit, accounting for 95% of global trade followed by Malaysia at 4%.  In the same year, China dominated global imports with 292 million kg representing 66% of the durian trade, followed by Vietnam, Singapore and Hong Kong. The global demand for durian comprises the demand for durian in raw fruit form as well as durian based products. In 2016, the retail value of the demand in durian in raw fruit form (fresh, frozen, paste and pulp), domestically and internationally, was estimated to be worth over USD9 billion. Based on these statistics, it is forecasted that global demand and trade for durian is expected to grow to more than USD25 billion by 2030, driven primarily by demand from China.  Global trade in durian is expected to conservatively reach 2 billion kg by 2030, without taking a significant increase in Chinese consumption per capita into account and which is likely. Global trade is expected to reach 4.5 million kg by 2030 if Chinese imports grow as they have over the period 2006 and 2016.

The demand for frozen and fresh durians especially Musang King from China is increasing every year. The overall export volume of Malaysian durian expanded by 143% in the 5 years between 2012 and 2017. In that same period, the price increased by 530%. The overall cultivated area devoted to durian plantation in Malaysia also doubled several times in the same period. In May 2019, Malaysia obtained permission to export frozen durian to the Chinese market. When this news came out, many farmers and plantation owners including investors from China are eager to take advantage of this golden opportunity. They plan to further increase the production volume and meet the growing Chinese market demand.

GLOBAL DURIAN TRADE AND DEMAND

Currently global durian trade is dominated by two countries, Thailand and China, as the primary exporters and importers, respectively. In 2016, Thailand exported 402 million kg of durian fruit, accounting for 95% of global trade followed by Malaysia at 4%.  In the same year, China dominated global imports with 292 million kg representing 66% of the durian trade, followed by Vietnam, Singapore and Hong Kong. The global demand for durian comprises the demand for durian in raw fruit form as well as durian based products. In 2016, the retail value of the demand in durian in raw fruit form (fresh, frozen, paste and pulp), domestically and internationally, was estimated to be worth over USD9 billion. Based on these statistics, it is forecasted that global demand and trade for durian is expected to grow to more than USD25 billion by 2030, driven primarily by demand from China.  Global trade in durian is expected to conservatively reach 2 billion kg by 2030, without taking a significant increase in Chinese consumption per capita into account and which is likely. Global trade is expected to reach 4.5 million kg by 2030 if Chinese imports grow as they have over the period 2006 and 2016.

PROBLEMS WITH DURIAN CULTIVATION AND PRODUCTION IN THE PAST

Many durian clones have been registered by Department of Agriculture since 1934 but only D24 was known to be cultivated on a large scale up to 100 acres. The mother tree of D24 originated from Bukit Merah area in Perak with high annual rainfall. When grown in prolong drought areas like the east coast, D24 trees experienced uneven fruit ripening. D24 clone was not adaptive to prolong drought and heavy rainfall areas. In the 70s and 80s the Department of Agriculture had distributed thousands of durian seedlings to farmers under the Orchard Rehabilitation Program but very few of these seedlings had survived to maturity. A large percentage of the seedlings died due to poor post-planting care and maintenance. Without frequent irrigation and proper post-planting care, the young seedlings just would not survive. Large scale commercial planting of durians were limited to a few agencies like Sime Darby, FELDA, Eden Farm, and Ladang Sin Hock. Due to low price and domination of global durian market by Thailand, many of these farms just could not survive too.

Stem canker disease was causing the death of many durian trees. Without treatment the whole orchard can be infected with the disease. So far there has been no method that can effectively control the disease. D24 clones under humid conditions were prone to stem canker. Leaf blight (Rhizoctonia solani) was also causing serious damage to seedlings and mature trees. Durian trees grown in mixed orchard had many pest problems. Apart from seed and fruit borers, squirrels were the main cause of fruit damage. Squirrel control was difficult because of closely planted fruit trees. In some areas, the damage by squirrels was as high as 50 % for low fruit season. Many farmers believe that clonal durians were difficult to manage and preferred to grow kampung varieties which were more resistance to disease, hardy and survive well under adverse conditions. Fruits were of low quality and fertiliser application by farmers was minimal. With poor agricultural practices, yields were low and fruit quality was poor. Durian is a perennial crop and takes a long time to reach bearing age. Due to this long juvenile period, researcher tend to shy away from getting involve in durian research. Furthermore durian was considered a low priority crop for research in the 80s and 90s. Many proposals for research on durian were rejected. Technical support for durian production technology was limited and farmers normally carry out their own trials.

 

* Artikel ini adalah petikan dari Buku yang bertajuk "Managing DURIAN ORCHARDS in Malaysia"  yang ditulis oleh Dr Abdul Aziz Zakaria.  Buku ini boleh di beli menerusi Kedai Buku Penerbit UPM atau melalui pembelian atas talian di laman web www.upmpress.com.my.

 

 

Tarikh Input: 25/11/2020 | Kemaskini: 10/03/2021 | lanjoy2006@g.mail.com

PERKONGSIAN MEDIA

PEJABAT TIMBALAN NAIB CANSELOR (PENYELIDIKAN & INOVASI)
Universiti Putra Malaysia
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