More durians rolling in this year: AVA data

Durians on sale at Durian FullHouse, near Kovan market and food centre. Thanks to good weather in Malaysia, there is a bumper crop of durians.
Durians on sale at Durian FullHouse, near Kovan market and food centre. Thanks to good weather in Malaysia, there is a bumper crop of durians.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

At 8,900 tonnes, amount imported so far exceeds that in same period last year

There has been a deluge of the king of fruits in Singapore, with the number of durians imported in the first half of the year already exceeding the halfway mark for last year.

Durian sellers and buyers said that unlike previous years, the prices have also fallen.

The reason for the bumper crop? Good weather in Malaysia, said sellers.

According to the latest figures from the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA), 8,900 tonnes of fresh and chilled durians were imported into Singapore, more than the amount recorded at the halfway point last year, when 14,300 tonnes were imported for the whole of 2017.

Of the number of durians imported so far this year, 8,300 tonnes came from Malaysia and 600 tonnes from Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and other countries.

According to Shin Min Daily News, 8,900 tonnes of durians is equivalent to about six million durians, if one fruit weighs 1.5kg.

The quality of the durians is also better this year, said fans.

Mr Alvin Teoh, 33, the owner of Durian36 in Geylang Road, said he imported 60 to 70 per cent more this year than in the first half of last year. He sells the highest grade of mao shan wang durian - also known as musang king - for as low as $15 per kg during this season.

Last year, the price for the same grade was $22 to $25 per kg.

He said: "Mao shan wang comes in different grades - A, B and C. The grade of durian I sell, grade A, weighs about 1.5kg and has more flesh and flavour than the rest."

Frequent durian buyer Ang, a public servant who declined to give his full name, said the quality of a durian can be assessed in several ways, for instance, in its consistency and creaminess, the intensity of the taste and overall ripeness.

Mr Ang, 32, who has done his own research on how to choose a good durian, said: "For durians, as with most crops, better yield and quality go hand in hand. Under conditions like hotter and drier weather, the durian trees tend to produce more fruit, and the average quality also improves."

This year's import figure is not projected to be as big as the amount in 2013, when a record 22,900 tonnes were brought into the country, according to the AVA.

So how long will this durian feast last? Mr Teoh said: "I think Singaporeans can get to enjoy the increase in durian imports for about two more weeks."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 20, 2018, with the headline 'More durians rolling in this year: AVA data'. Print Edition | Subscribe