INTERACTIVE: Is the durian still Malaysia's No. 1 fruit? Find out here

Fruit stall owner Lai Saw Hee, 70, checking the pineapples, pomelos, bananas and other fruits on sale at his stall near the Ayer Itam market in Penang. -CHAN BOON KAI/The Star

PETALING JAYA: Another prickly fruit has emerged as the top fruit produced in Malaysia, but it isn’t our mighty durian.

The pineapple has taken the number one spot as the fruit with the highest production volume in 2022, based on the latest data by the Agriculture and Food Security Ministry.

But durian lovers need not worry, as the king of fruits is still on top of the list based on the cumulative volume of fruits produced from 2018 to 2022.

For last year alone though, a total of 537,231 tonnes of pineapple was produced, while the volume for durian was 455,458 tonnes.

This means the sweet and sour fruit made up the largest share or 29.4% out of the overall total 1.827 million tonnes of fruits harvested in 2022.

This is the first time in the past five years that pineapples, instead of durians, have topped the production volume list.

However, the durian was still the most abundant fruit produced between 2018 and 2022, based on its total cumulative production volume which outnumbers the rest.

In these five years, a total of 2.013 million tonnes of durians was harvested throughout the country, followed by 1.873 million tonnes of pineapples in the same period.

The Star reported on Aug 20 that the durian was the number one fruit produced last year based on the Agriculture Department’s 2022 booklet of statistics on food crops, which showed initial data for 2022.

In a later report on Sept 11, the ministry released updated data showing the new figures.

ALSO READ: INTERACTIVE: Malaysia’s thriving fruits and vegetables

Meanwhile, tomatoes continue to be the top vegetable produced in the country.

It has consistently been on top of the harvest list from 2018 to 2022.

The round, versatile vegetable comprises 16.7% or 194,305 of the total 1.163 million tonnes of vegetables grown nationwide last year.

Deputy Agriculture and Food Security Minister Chan Foong Hin had said in a report that the combined production of fruits and vegetables showed an upward trend last year.

As such, this development is a positive indicator of Malaysia’s food availability and sufficiency.

ALSO READ: Fruits and veggie production going up

However, Chan noted that the ministry's data also revealed that the growth or yield is not uniform across all types of produce.

This is because some fruits and vegetables experienced more substantial increases than others due to various factors such as the weather and demand from local and international consumers.

Nevertheless, there’s been growing demand globally for Malaysian pineapples.

Malaysian Pineapple Industry Board chairman Sheikh Umar Bagharib Ali told StarMetro that local pineapples have high export potential.

The board set an export target of RM1bil by 2025 under the 12th Malaysia Plan.

But this goal was surpassed in 2021 when Malaysia’s pineapple export value including pineapple-based products reached RM1.106bil.

ALSO READ: Plant with many uses making waves

With our pineapples flourishing, it’s a good time to learn more about the fruit, which is used widely in dishes, desserts or simply eaten as is.

Take the quiz below to see how many facts you can get right about this unique fruit:

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