KUALA LUMPUR, April 23 — Datuk Salahuddin Ayub considers negotiating a pathway to market and export durians whole to China as among his best achievements as agriculture and agro-based industry minister.
Detailing how inspectors from the General Administration of Customs of China (GACC) have already started inspections at local durian farms, Salahuddin said hopefully, the king of fruit will be given export clearance by the end of this year.
He said this was the fruit of labour from a meeting involving the Chinese government, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and him last August, during which they agreed on a protocol to eventually allow direct exports from Malaysia beyond just durian pulp and paste.
“Last time, it took them three years to come and check our industry for pulp and paste, and now, in less than a year they are here, so our market in China is very broad.
“This is a big industry for durians and now we have identified around 14 companies that are ready to export the whole fruit to China,” he told a press conference yesterday in conjunction with Pakatan Harapan’s first year in power.
Salahuddin said in addition to export opportunities, his ministry was also looking at collaborating with the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture to organise large-scale campaigns in mainland China to attract ‘durian tourists’ to local farms.
He said to help the campaigns, he will also push for possible shuttle services to bring tourists to popular destinations such as Raub in Pahang, Penang and Johor.
“In Johor, we have Musang King, Penang we have Duri Hitam and Udang Merah, and Raub we also have Musang King; these three towns can become good destinations.
“Other sectors will also benefit, like homestays and transportation, and they will also most likely go shopping in urban areas.
“So we can see how this campaign, if successful, can have a big impact in Malaysia,” he said.