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为了满足中国人的胃 马来西亚棕榈油巨头都改种榴莲了…… Malaysia bets on durian as China goes bananas for world's smelliest fruit

中国日报网 2018-12-03 13:50



Customers take pictures of a durian hotpot at Coconut Chicken Hotpot Store in Shanghai, China November 14, 2018. REUTERS/Aly Song

The stinky, spiky durian is set to become Malaysia’s next major export as the Southeast Asian nation rushes to develop thousands of acres to cash in on unprecedented demand for the fruit from China.

闻起来有点臭、满身带刺的榴莲将成为马来西亚的下一个主要出口产品,马来西亚正在大规模种植榴莲, 面积达数千英亩,希望从中国对榴莲前所未有的旺盛需求中赚取利润。

Once planted in family orchards and small-scale farms, the durian, described by some as smelling like an open sewer or turpentine when ripe, is attracting investments like never before. Even property tycoons and companies in palm oil, Malaysia’s biggest agricultural export, are making forays into the durian business.


“The durian industry is transforming from local to global, large-scale farming due to the great demand from China,” said Lim Chin Khee, a durian industry consultant. “Before the boom, a durian farm in Malaysia would be a leisure farm ... Now they are hundreds of acres and bigger, and many more will come.”


Durian may be banned in some airports, public transport and hotels in Southeast Asia for its pungent smell, but the Chinese are huge fans. Durian-flavored foods sold in China include pizza, butter, salad dressing and milk.


Durian for sale in a market in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia  Photograph: Emily Chow/Reuters

“At first, I also hated durians because I thought they have a weird smell,” said Helen Li, 26, eating at a shop specializing in durian pizza in Shanghai, where nearly every customer ordered the 60 yuan dish during a recent lunch hour rush. “But when you taste it, it’s really quite delicious.”


At another Shanghai restaurant selling durian chicken hotpot for around 148 yuan, owner Chen Weihao said the store could sell around 20 to 25 kg of imported Thai durian every month.


马方人员展示“溯源”冷冻猫山王榴莲。新华网 王大玮摄


Chinese pay top dollar for Malaysia’s ‘Musang King’ variety of durian because of its creamy texture and bitter-sweet taste. Prices of the variety, now planted all over the country, have nearly quadrupled in the last five years.


China’s durian imports rose 15 percent last year to nearly 350,000 tonnes worth $510 million, according to the United Nations’ trade database. Nearly 40 percent was from Thailand, the world’s top producer and exporter.


Malaysia accounted for less than 1 percent, but expects sales to China to jump to 22,061 tonnes by 2030 from this year’s likely 14,600 tonnes, as trade is widened to include whole fruit from the current restriction to durian pulp and paste.




Lim, the consultant, said palm oil giant IOI Corp and property-to-resorts conglomerate Berjaya Corp have approached him about making ventures into durian farming.


State-owned palm oil company Felda said the agricultural ministry began planting durian on its land this year. PLS Plantations last month said it will buy a $5 million stake in a durian exporter.


M7 Plantation Bhd, a private company established last year, is developing a 10,000-acre durian estate in Gua Musang, home to the Musang King in the eastern state of Kelantan, and is selling durian trees for 5,000 ringgit each.


“We founded the company because we see potential in the industry, the primary target being China,” Chief Executive Ng Lee Chin said, adding that most of her buyers were from China.



“Planting durians is not just a hobby today as durians are considered as ‘gold’ in the agriculture industry,” the agriculture department said in e-mailed comments to Reuters.


Even Malaysia’s prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad, has seized upon it. “I feel it is time that we produce durians on a large-scale and systematic manner,” he has said.


Malaysia’s durian plantations covered 72,000 hectares last year but the area under cultivation is growing, the department said, and in some areas plantations growing palm oil are switching to durian because it is seen as more lucrative.


In March, Malaysia’s then-agriculture minister was quoted as saying one hectare of Musang King could yield nearly nine times more revenue than a hectare of palm plantation.


In Sabah state, some of the land for durian farming will come from converting palm estates, its agriculture ministry said, adding it was planning expansion over 5,000 hectares.





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