BALIK PULAU: Durian farmers have embraced modern technology to stay in business after being badly hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.
At the popular Bao Sheng durian farm, owner Chang Teik Seng, 60, said he was able to collect the King of Fruit easily with the help of 5G technology, which was installed at his farm last year.
Most customers come to his farm to experience the tingling “numb” sensation and flavour of the flesh of the fruit, which is eaten between 20 minutes and two hours after the fruit falls from the tree.
“It’s crucial for us to identify the fallen fruit as soon as possible,” he said at his orchard here.
Teik Seng’s son Zhi Vooi, 27, who helps manage the orchard, said they would get better network coverage by using 5G.
“Last year, we set up fishnets to catch the fallen durians, using 5G technology, which notified us of the location of the fallen fruit at the farm,” he said.
Before this, they had to search every tree.
On the 5G system, Zhi Vooi explained that sensors were placed along each durian tree net, enabling them to detect changes to net tension and weight when a fruit drops.
“An alert is then sent to our phones, detailing the fruit’s location.“Once the durians are fetched from the net, they are hit on a hard surface to imitate the impact of falling, which activates a chemical reaction that contributes to the numbing sensation in the tongue.
“We can then serve the durian to our in-house guests,” he said.
According to Zhi Vooi, the technology utilises massive Machine Type Communications (mMTC) components of 5G to help provide real-time insights on harvesting and the sensors have the ability to monitor durian harvests based on time and location.
Previously, the challenge was to predict when a fruit would fall and for customers to taste the “numbing” within a short window of time.
“We have some 200 durian trees on this hilly six-acre farm, so it takes a lot of time to look for a fallen durian from every tree,” he said.
Teik Seng explained that not many people are aware of the “numb” sensation when the fruit is consumed in 20 minutes to two hours after it has fallen.
He discovered the “numbing” 10 years ago when his wife picked up a durian that had just fallen.
“When I tasted it, I thought the fruit had come from an older tree.
“To my surprise, it came from a young tree. To experience the numbing taste, we need to consume the fruit 20 minutes to two hours after it falls,” he said.