KUALA BERANG (Bernama): The durian kampung variety grown by smallholders in Terengganu which used to be looked down upon will soon become a premium type of durian equivalent to the Musang King (D197) variety to penetrate the global market, says the state Agriculture, Agro-based Industry and Rural Development Committee.
The committee chairman Dr Azman Ibrahim said efforts to elevate the status of durian kampung are actively being carried out by the Terengganu Agriculture Department through a competition since July, which aims to identify high-quality durian kampung varieties.
He said the competition was the best platform to promote premium durian kampung from all over the state.
"It started at the village level by choosing the best durians to advance to the district and state levels. As a result, we have successfully identified 10 varieties of premium durian kampung that have the same criteria as hybrid durians that are in high demand in the global market today.
"The process to register these durian varieties will be done as soon as possible according to their special characteristics so that they could be in the premium durian category just like the other popular varieties,” he told reporters after reviewing the durian judging process at Kompleks Pertanian Ajil here.
Also present were state Agriculture Department director Zulkepli Amin Mat Jusoh@Yusof and Prof Jamil Zakaria, lecturer at the Farm Management Centre, Faculty of Bioresources and Food Industry, Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin who acted as the chief judge.
A smallholder from the Kuala Nerus district emerged as the winner of the competition to bring home a cash prize of RM3,000, while smallholders from the Marang district won the second and third prize of RM2,000 and RM1,000, respectively.
Commenting further, Dr Azman said the competition also aimed to expose the farmers to a more systematic durian farm management system so that the high-quality premium durian kampung could be produced consistently.
"Proper tree care is crucial such as irrigation, fertiliser and light aspects and other techniques which have been proven successful by commercial durian farmers.
"We don’t want farmers to only visit their farms during the harvest season. If we want to produce premium durian kampung that is equivalent to other durian clones, farmers need to work hard with advice from the Agriculture Department so it could bring lucrative returns to them,” he said.- Bernama