KUALA LUMPUR: Deputy Agriculture and Agro-based Minister Sim Tze Tzin outlined a nightmare scenario for durian lovers here, saying that Malaysians will have none left to savour if demand for the "king of fruits" increases in China.
"We are producing 300,000 tonnes of durians a year and currently exporting 5.8%, or 17,000 tonnes to China.
"In comparison, Thailand exports 300,000 tons a year and if China has the same demand for durians from Malaysia, there will be none left here," he said in his ministerial reply on issues raised during debates during the Mid-Term Review of the 11th Malaysia Plan on Thursday (Nov 1).
However, he assured lawmakers that there is an adequate supply of durians for locals as China only imported premium durian varieties.
He noted that only 23% or 69,000 tonnes of durians produced, such as the Musang King variety, were considered premium durians.
Sim said demand for durians in China is expected to rise following the recent agreement to export durians in whole fruit form.
"That is why we need a durian strategy which will increase downstream durian products and promote it as an attraction," he added.
There are 204 varieties of durians registered with the Agriculture Department, of which 12 varieties have good commercial value and strong demand.
The six premium varieties include D24, D160 (Musang Queen), D168 (Hajah Hasmah), D197 (Musang King), D200 (Ochee) and D99.