RAWANG: Malaysia is expected to export frozen whole durian fruits by the end of the year, pending an inspection process by an administrative authority in China, says Datuk Salahuddin Ayub.
"In May, the General Administration of Customs of the People's Republic of China (GACC) will come to audit the (Malaysian) facilities.
"If approved, the chosen companies will be able to export to China.
"This will be a success for us," said the Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister during a press conference after a working visit to JL Food Industries, a durian export facility on Wednesday (March 13).
Salahuddin said GACC would audit, among other things, the hygiene standards as well as the biosecurity of the facilities.
He added that this was no different from the auditing methods of frozen durians in the form of pulp and paste.
Salahuddin added that the approval to export whole durian fruits would take a few months after the auditing process.
"The earliest (to export) is the end of this year," he said.
He said the decision to expedite the approval process to export whole durian fruits was GACC's.
Salahuddin explained that getting the approval of the Chinese authorities to export durian pulp and paste took three years from the time they signed the protocol before exports commenced in 2011.
"This time around, we will try to negotiate to facilitate closely with them," he said.
Malaysia signed an export protocol with China for frozen whole fruit durians in August last year in Beijing, China in a ceremony attended by Salahuddin and GACC Minister Ni Yuefeng.
It was in November 2007 that Malaysia first obtained export access to China for frozen durians in the form of pulp and paste.
Salahuddin said following the ministry's visit to Beijing on Feb 22, there had been 12 additional durian processing facilities for frozen durian pulp and paste that had been approved, making for a total of 31 approved processing facilities.
With this, Salahuddin said the export of the frozen durian pulp and paste was expected to increase to RM350mil in 2019 compared to RM202.27mil in 2018.
"Our success in this has to be taken care of. I want to remind these companies to not compromise on the quality of durians.
"Do not lie and take advantage just for bigger profits. If we do not have integrity and are caught for cheating on the quality of durians, then it will be hard to once again obtain the approval of GACC," he said.
He added that this would result in the whole industry being affected.
Salahuddin also said he was also looking to work on a campaign together with the Tourism Ministry to enable people from China to visit Malaysia during the durian season.
"This will benefit us as we want to make durians a product that has good returns, not just for the players in the industry but also for the country's economy," he said.