Durian prices plunge amid supply glut from Malaysia

Mr Sky Teo (foreground, left), stall manager of Durian Fullhouse near Kovan market and food centre, said sales may not increase even though he is bringing in 30 55kg cartons of durians a day.
Mr Sky Teo (foreground, left), stall manager of Durian Fullhouse near Kovan market and food centre, said sales may not increase even though he is bringing in 30 55kg cartons of durians a day.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

Vendors struggle to cope with sudden oversupply caused by favourable weather

Durian prices have dropped dramatically due to an oversupply caused by hot weather in Malaysia, vendors in Singapore say.

A mao shan wang durian - also known as musang king or civet cat king - is currently selling at $12 to $15 per kg, down from its usual price of between $28 and $35 per kg, according to seven durian vendors The Straits Times spoke to.

A mao shan wang durian typically weighs 1.5kg.

Other popular varieties such as red prawn, D13 and D24, which usually sell at an average of $15 each, are now going for just over a third of that price. These varieties usually weigh 1.5kg to 2kg each.

Durian vendors attributed the oversupply to the hot weather in Malaysia, which makes durians ripen faster.

Mature durian trees also require a certain amount of rainfall throughout the year in order to produce quality durian fruit, and this season is considered a good one.

Mr Tan See Cheng, 48, owner of Deluxe (SG) Enterprise in Geylang, which sells and supplies durians, said that the oversupply came unexpectedly on Sunday.

"Usually, stocks will pile in slowly. But on Sunday, the durians came in too suddenly. We are selling at a loss right now because we have too many durians. We are even throwing away some because we are unable to sell them," said Mr Tan, a vendor of 20 years.

OVERWHELMED

Usually, stocks will pile in slowly. But on Sunday, the durians came in too suddenly. We are selling at a loss right now because we have too many durians. We are even throwing away some because we are unable to sell them.

MR TAN SEE CHENG, owner of Deluxe (SG) Enterprise, which sells and supplies durians in Singapore.

 
 

He is currently selling mao shan wang for $12 per kg, down from $28 last week, and gets them from Johor. "The harvest for durians this season is good. The weather has a good mix of rain and sun, which will cause the durians to ripen and drop faster," he said.

Mr Sky Teo, 34, stall manager of Durian Fullhouse, located near Kovan market and food centre, is also selling mao shan wang at $12 per kg. He said his stall is currently bringing in around 30 55kg cartons of durians every afternoon, but sales may not increase.

"Now, not many people know about the durian season because the supplies came in too suddenly. Most of my customers now are those who pass by and see that they are very cheap," he said.

Mr Alvin Teoh, 33, owner of Durian 36 in Geylang, said most varieties have nearly halved in price.

"The ones that have dropped the most are red prawn and D13. The lowest I have sold is at $2 each. Previously, it was about $5 to $10 each."

Madam Amanda Choong, 56, an art trainer, bought five boxes of D13 durians for $20 at Durian Fullhouse. She said: "These are about half price, as compared with when I last bought durians in March. These durians are sweet and good, it is one of the few times where all the durians in the box are of good quality and taste good."

Last year, Malaysia exported more than 14,000 tonnes of durians, mostly to Singapore, according to United Nations Commodity Trade data. This was down from about 17,700 tonnes in 2016.

• Additional reporting by Jasia Shamdasani

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 06, 2018, with the headline 'Durian prices plunge amid supply glut from Malaysia'. Print Edition | Subscribe