Durian sellers, customers lament higher prices


Photos By FARID WAHAB

Herizee says planters’ increase in prices are forcing sellers to also hike theirs to compensate.

DURIAN sellers in the Klang Valley have pointed to higher prices asked by planters as the reason for the fruits being more expensive this year.

Seller Herizee Zakaria, 35, who trades by a roadside in Setapak, said he had received complaints from many customers who were upset with the increase in price.

“Many planters have raised their prices this year, so we have to increase our prices too.

“We have other costs to pay for, such as transportation, site rental and workers’ salaries,” he said, adding that business was slow this year.

The father-of-four said the shorter operating hours was a double whammy for sellers, as customers usually preferred to buy the fruit at night.

He added that the delivery service did not make up for the significant drop in business.

Asril Kayo, 60, who runs a stall in Taman Melawati, pointed to the export of durian as another reason for the rise in prices.

He said that he reduced his stock from 1,000kg a day to 300kg, to deal with the lower demand this year.

“In past years, we operated up to 2am.

“Nowadays, we have to close much earlier to comply with the Covid-19 standard operating procedure,” he said, adding that his stall also does not host dine-in customers currently.Datuk Alan Ling, who owns a durian plantation in Banting, Selangor, blamed the middlemen for the high prices.

“For example, we only sell the Musang King variant for about RM35 per kg, but outside, it is sold for up to RM60.

“The middlemen take a huge cut of the profits, which have caused prices to soar,” he said.

However, the services of the middlemen were needed, he said, as they knew the locations of stalls and could better market the fruit.

Consumer Hashim Ahmad, 29, said he had not been buying durian from roadside stalls in a long time.

“I prefer buying from supermarkets as I already know the quality of the fruit inside the transparent packing.

“If I buy from roadside stalls, not only do I have to break open the hard shell myself, I am also unsure of the quality,” he said.

Another buyer, who only wanted to be known as Lim, 45, said the exorbitant prices were a major turn-off.

“I remember a time when durians were priced based on pips, like from RM15 to RM30 for three pips, for example.

“But now, they are priced per kg, which is unfair, because we don’t eat the heavy shell,” he said.

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