Fancy durians? Expect longer wait, higher prices

Mao Shan Wang
Mao Shan WangPHOTO: AZIZ HUSSIN FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
Thai coconut
Thai coconutST PHOTO: MARCUS TAN

Hot weather in Malaysia, Thailand hits supply and also causes prices of coconuts to spike

Durian fans looking to get their fix may have to wait longer and pay more this year, as weather woes have delayed the peak season for the King of Fruits - usually from June to July.

At Ah Seng Durian in Ghim Moh, the price of 1kg of Mao Shan Wang is in the range of $20 to $24, up from $15 to $18 this time last year.

Supply has fallen by 50 per cent due to the recent drought in Malaysia, according to owner Shui Poh Sing, 57.

Insufficient water has caused flower buds to fall off instead of blossom, resulting in a lower yield.

Mr Shui, who usually gets his durians from Muar, Tangkat and Pahang, is looking farther north to Penang for supplies.

Madam Linda Ang, owner of Combat Durian in Balestier Road, said the peak season will be in July instead of next month.

  • $20-$24

    Price of 1kg of Mao Shan Wang

    $15- $18

    Price of the durian a year ago


    $2.75

    Price of fresh Thai coconut at Giant, up from $1.95 a year ago

    $3.60

    Price of UFC 100% Refresh Coconut Water at Giant, up from $3.20 in recent weeks

"Supply of Mao Shan Wang has fallen by about 10 to 20 per cent. We want good-quality durians, but the stock has fallen because of the weather," she said.

Housewife Lynda Yeo, 56, who eats durians at least once a week during the durian season, said: "I don't mind the wait as long as the durians are of good quality."

The hot weather has also caused fresh coconuts and coconut water from Thailand to rise in price by as much as 20 per cent at supermarkets here.

Siam Coconut, which imports 4,000 to 6,000 coconuts a day, said the price is at its highest in 15 years due to the extreme hot weather in Thailand that has caused plantations to dry up.

"Coupled with the increase in education and media articles on the health benefits of coconut water, (this) has driven up demand for coconuts... and hence increased prices by quite a fair bit," said its general manager, Mr Kelvin Ngian.

Field Catering and Supplies, which distributes the Cocomax brand of coconut water, said prices are up by 15 per cent to 20 per cent due to the shortage of coconuts and the strong US dollar.

"We buy in US dollars. As the US dollar has strengthened against the Singapore dollar, our import cost has increased," said a spokesman.

At Giant, a fresh coconut from Thailand costs $2.75, up from $1.95 this time last year. A one-litre bottle of UFC 100% Refresh Coconut Water has increased from $3.20 to $3.60 in recent weeks.

Prices of Thai coconuts at FairPrice have increased by 5 per cent from a week ago.

At Cold Storage, three brands of coconut water - Cocomax, Ice Cool and UFC - have risen by 11 to 20 per cent in recent months.

To moderate the costs, FairPrice and Sheng Siong are looking to other sources, such as Vietnam, where the coconuts are 20 per cent cheaper than Thailand's.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 28, 2016, with the headline 'Fancy durians? Expect longer wait, higher prices'. Print Edition | Subscribe