GEORGE TOWN: Malaysian durians are going places with the first consignment of the King of Fruits expected to reach Saudi Arabia for the first time this week.
The Saudis believe the 3.6 tonnes of D24 from Penang and Pahang will offer them lots of health benefits, including aphrodisiac effects.
Penang-based entrepreneur Engku Isa Al-Husam said the export, which was worth RM200,000, was Malaysia’s first official export of durian to Saudi Arabia, which was the most populated kingdom in the Middle East.
“The frozen durian were shipped out from Port Klang on Nov 9 and are expected to arrive there this week after a 7,000km journey.
“Initially, the initiative was to satisfy the cravings of the Malaysian community living there as they are unable to return home due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Demand then spread to the people from other countries, including the Saudis, ” Engku Isa said on Friday.
He said the Arabs strongly believed that the fruits possessed a lot of health benefits.
“The stigma that Arabs do not like durian no longer exists.
“Today, they are loving it, especially those who have been to South-East Asian countries.
“In the past, they imported durian from Thailand and the fruits were easily available at major supermarkets there.
“This time, they are trying out our King Of Fruits.
“The shipment can be considered quite big even though it is a maiden trip, ” he said.
Engku Isa added that a durian store had recently been opened in Jeddah.
The D24 variety was chosen because of its affordability.
“Once consumers there get used to our durian, next time maybe we will send the top-rated Musang King.
“Next year, we plan to export durian there four times a year, ” Engku Isa said.
“Apart from durian, we also hope to introduce to the Saudis other tropical fruits and agricultural products from Malaysia.”
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