KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 28 — The first chartered flight of 20 tonnes of whole Malaysian durian flew to the Henan province in China yesterday to fill the appetite and demand for the fruit in the middle kingdom.
Malaysia's special envoy to China Tan Kok Wai said the inaugural flight carried several varieties of durian, including the ever popular Musang King, to Henan's capital of Zhengzhou, The Star reported today.
"We are aiming to expand the number of flights from two or three per week to daily chartered flights and have a target of exporting 8,000 tons of durian a year valued at 800 million RMB.
“Less than 1 per cent of the Chinese population have tasted Musang King before and exporting the whole fruit to China will allow us to expand the market even further,” he was quoted saying at the event launch yesterday.
Tan added that reaching just 1 per cent of China’s population was an achievement as it meant getting a consumer base of 14 million people.
The chartered flight yesterday was a result of the China (Henan)-Malaysia Agriculture Supply Chain Platform that aimed to promote and strengthen agricultural trade between the two countries.
Last year, Malaysia exported 235.62 tonnes of durian products to China.
Tan said the export of durian has had a spillover effect into tourism for Malaysia as many Chinese are keen to holiday here now after tasting the thorny fruit fresh at the orchards.
Malaysia began to export whole durian fruits to China in June after being able to only export pulp, paste and other processed products to the country.
Tan said he hoped that other provinces in China would also be encouraged to open their doors to Malaysian durian exports.