One-third of Malaysia’s durian orchards are now occupied by the Musang King variety


The stats are in and 36% of Malaysia’s durian orchards are now producing the creamiest, sweetest breed of durio zibethinus, Musang King.

The agriculture division of the Industries Ministry reports that there are 1.5 million durian trees, spread over a total of 66,000 hectares of the country. Of that, 23,700 are dedicated to the highest yielding strain, in terms of RM per kilo, the Musang King.

The recent spike in the breed’s popularity both at home, and abroad, has resulted in a price surge from what had previously been RM30 per kilo (US$7.5/kg), to currently, fetching anywhere between RM60-RM90 per kilo (US$15-US$22/kg).

Currently, the biggest export markets for the king of fruits, with a delectable aroma of the sweetest rubbish in a flower patch, are Singapore and China. Durian exports accounted for RM74.39 million (US$18.3 million) in 2016.

Of these, exports of pulp and frozen durian paste to China were RM18.02 million (US$4.4 million). The government is currently waiting for approval from China authorities to export frozen, whole durian.”

Chinese investors are even getting in on the action from the ground up: they now own 121 hectares of prime Malaysian durian land. They are particularly fond of the Musang King variety, prized for its creamy, sweet flavor.

Unfortunately, Singapore seems to be getting the short-end of the stick on this deal.

With Chinese willing to pay premium prices, there is now a lack of supply in Singapore, as Malaysian farmers are keen to export to China, where they can fetch double to triple the price. Those durians do make it to market for Singaporeans are more expensive, and of a substandard quality, compared to previous harvests before the Chinese demand took over.

Sorry about that, guys.

The government is now investigating exactly how many Musang King trees are currently planted.

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One thought on “One-third of Malaysia’s durian orchards are now occupied by the Musang King variety

  1. I was curious as to which variety of durian these are in Thailand, where we have 300+ different kinds. Seems musang king durians are puangmanee พวงมณี here. Grandma Manee is still alive, in Chantaburi province.

    Puangmanee are somewhat more delicate in flavour but also richer. If you can get to a place with a durian orchard and get tree-dropped fruit, those are at the peak of perfection.

    Almost every small town in Thailand will have folks with durian trees, often pomelo-sized, referred to as durian baan. These are very fragile and not sold commercially, so enjoy them if you can.

    Just saw a writer called durian ‘creme brulée on a tree’! Disclaimer: This writer smuggled a box of durian baan onto Thai Airways and fill the whole plane with the scent. Eating durian on a train, a conductor asked three times who had the durian. Third time, he threatened to stop the train!

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