SINGAPORE, June 18 — Despite earlier projections of a shortage of durians from Malaysia that would cause prices to increase, a surprise bumper crop and tough competition have resulted in prices dropping by as much as S$7 (RM30.81) a kilogram.

Six out of seven sellers approached by TODAY on Friday (June 17) said that they have lowered their prices to attract customers.

Zen Ho, who is in charge of Durian Empire in Punggol, said that better weather conditions in Johor for the past two weeks have resulted in a bumper crop.

At the same time, durians from Pahang have arrived earlier than usual.

“We thought the next crop of durians from Pahang would come in July, but the rain there caused the durians to drop earlier. So while there is a shortage still from Pahang, there are some coming into Singapore at the same time as those from Johor, so there’s more supply overall,” he said.

With more supply available, Ho said that his suppliers have reduced their prices and he is passing on these cost savings to his customers.

Mao Shan Wang, a popular durian type, would typically retail for more than S$25 a kilogram, but Ho said that his prices would be between S$18 and S$21, depending on his suppliers in the next two weeks.

“Pahang Mao Shan Wang will be more expensive, about S$20 to S$23 a kilogram, as there are fewer durians,” he added.

“It’s hard to say if this will last in July because the weather can change in two weeks and affect supply, just like how we thought there would be a shortage.” Over at Holland Drive, a bountiful harvest of durians in Muar, Johor has allowed fruit store Durian on Wheels to sell its Mao Shan Wang at S$17 a kilogram.

Jill Tan, who works at the store, said that the prices will fluctuate because it depends on the suppliers, but it will be cheaper than prices during the previous season earlier this year. “We sold our Mao Shan Wang for between S$23 and S$28 a kilogram then,” she added.

“We’ve been able to order all the different types of durians, like red prawn and D24, and all their prices are lower because there’s a good harvest in Muar.” She said that Durian on Wheels has received two enquiries from companies who want to host corporate durian parties.

Lim Wei Chun, a staff member of Sam Fruit Trading at Geylang, said that as the season has just started, it is hard to tell how prices will change in the coming days.

However, he said that the store has ordered more durian supply for the weekend as they anticipate greater demand.

Sellers cutting prices; free durians coming

Over at Toa Payoh, four durian sellers told TODAY that the stiff competition has forced sellers to keep prices down.

“We just opened for the season, so we have to sell cheaper to attract customers,” Steph Wang from Evergreen 178 said.

Ang Ka Seang, manager at Hong Heng Fruit Trading, whose durians were going for as low as S$10 for three, said: “There’s also more competition because people can just go to Malaysia now.” Other sellers in Toa Payoh also said that with more online options to buy durians, they have to be competitive with their prices.

The low prices have enticed people such as real estate agent Jennifer Foo, who had been in Toa Payoh for work.

“The prices here are cheap, too,” Foo said, declining to reveal her age.

“I just ate durians last night at a shop near my home in Pasir Ris and it was also three for S$10. Maybe I’ll get more later.” Madam Suzanah Yusoff had just watched a TikTok video about the durians on sale in Geylang and wanted to satisfy her craving as the durian season gets going.

“It’s about S$5 cheaper than when I previously ate in January... and it’s really good this season, so definitely I’ll be back for more,” the 48-year-old administrator said.

On Fock Wing, a 62-year-old daycare driver, was also in Geylang eating durians with his wife to celebrate her birthday.

“I drove around and looked at the prices and whether the durians were good at each store before settling with this one,” he said, adding that he had sold durians in his 20s.

“Prices are obviously more expensive than when I used to sell them, but my wife and I love durians too much... we just finished our ninth durian.” Online, e-commerce site Shopee is giving away 300kg of durians at Plaza Singapura mall from 2pm to 8pm on Sunday. It will be giving away 65 trays of durians each hour on a first-come, first-served basis, Shopee said. — TODAY