Dry season for durian because of rain

Wasted harvest: Tan (left) and his brother Chee Boon picking up some of the fruits that fell due to the current bad weather. — CHAN BOON KAI/The Star

GEORGE TOWN: Durian suppliers were expecting a bumper crop this month, but continuous rain during the inter-monsoon season may cause a 60% drop in the overall projected yield this year.

Durian farm owner and supplier Tan Chee Keat, 30, said they expected a good durian yield beginning May, with the peak in June as the blooming season was very successful in February.

“We had a pronounced dry season early this year, so many of us were expecting a better harvest this year but due to the continuous heavy rain and winds, many of our fruits fell before they were ripe.

“In this case, these fruits will all become useless because you cannot eat them and you cannot sell them, ” he said when met at one of his orchards in Paya Terubong yesterday.

Tan, who owns orchards in Balik Pulau, Teluk Bahang, Teluk Kumbar and other parts of the mainland, said he expected to produce roughly 1,200 tonnes of fruits this year.

“But due to the bad weather conditions, many fruits have not even ripened and they have fallen.

“A lot of the smaller fruits, which are expected to ripen during the season’s peak in June, have fallen as well.

“This will cause a huge drop in our yield even during the peak season in June.

“As such, we are only expecting to harvest some 400 to 500 tonnes of durian this year.

“This is worse than last year because then we had at least over 600 tonnes of fruit, ” he explained.

Tan added that he was now worried as to how he was going to meet clients’ demand.

“Now it is a big headache for us in meeting demand.

“In this field, as we do not sign contracts or agreements, agreement by word of mouth is important as we are doing business based on trust.

“As such, we need to make sure all our clients have their stock because it is important to be trustworthy in this line of business, ” he added.

Another durian owner in Balik Pulau, Chang Teik Seng, said he was also not expecting a good harvest this year owing to downpours which disrupted the blooms.

“Storms have affected a lot of our durian fruits and trees, so we are expecting fewer fruits this year, ” he said.

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