BANGKOK • Malaysia's Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Ministry is expected to receive approval to export fresh whole Musang King durian - known popularly as Mao Shan Wang - to China next year.
The ministry's deputy secretary-general, Datuk Mohd Salehhud-din Hassan, said negotiations with the Chinese government on Mao Shan Wang export to the country were positive.
"Negotiations with the Chinese government proceeded positively," he told Malaysian news agency Bernama during a Durian Fiesta at the Malaysian Embassy in Bangkok. "We have met their enquiries in terms of fruit safety and security. We hope to obtain approval next year, but it depends on the negotiations."
The event was held in conjunction with the acquiring of export approval for fresh Malaysian Mao Shan Wang into the Thai market.
According to Mr Salehhuddin, fresh Mao Shan Wang currently cannot be exported to China as a whole fruit but is allowed in pulp, frozen and chilled form.
The demand for Mao Shan Wang is extremely high in China - the king of fruit costs more than RM300 (S$101) per kg there.
"After several major promotions in China, the residents there now know the real taste of Musang King and they are actually waiting for the fruit to enter their market," said Mr Salehhuddin.
The high demand in China has resulted in unscrupulous fruit traders there labelling Thai durians as Musang King.
Mr Salehhuddin said the Chinese market was important to ensure that the increasing number of durian producers in Malaysia have a market for their fruits. At the moment, private entrepreneurs are investing in hundreds of acres of Mao Shan Wang durian trees.
Most of Malaysia's durians are consumed locally. But in recent years, durian tours have become a hit with tourists, especially with those from China.
The value of durian exports from Malaysia has doubled from US$8.8 million in 2011 to almost US$18 million (S$24.3 million) last year.
Last year, Malaysia exported more than 19,000 tonnes of durians, mostly to Singapore, according to United Nations Commodity Trade data. Over the last decade, China's imports of durians have tripled from 2007 to almost 300,000 tonnes last year, according to data from the UN.