The export of Musang King durians and pineapples to China will make the fruits more expensive in the Malaysian market, Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek said today. (File pix)

PUTRAJAYA: The export of Musang King durians and pineapples to China will make the fruits more expensive in the Malaysian market, Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek said today.

"(But) I'm not worried that the prices of our durians and pineapples will go up. I'm more worried that they won't fetch a good price at all," he added.

He pointed out that durians and pineapples are not part of the staple diet of Malaysians, who will not be unduly burdened by their price rise.

"I will be very worried if the prices of basic necessities, like rice, go up. But durians and pineapples are not our basic food," Ahmad Shabery told reporters at the press conference for Livestock Malaysia 2017 at his ministry this afternoon. The agro-farming trade expo, to be held from Sept 28 to Oct I at MAEPS Serdang, will feature state-of-the-art technology in the agricultural industry.

Ahmad Shabery, who has just returned from a working trip to Beijing, said Malaysia’s export of pineapples to China is expected to double to RM320 million annually by 2020, following the recent signing of the protocol on phytosanitary requirements between his ministry and the Chinese government.

"With higher market prices, more people will be enticed to plant durians and pineapples commercially," he opined.

With the protocol signing, Malaysia is now allowed to export 12,000 tonnes of pineapples, worth RM40 million, to China annually. But currently, only frozen durians are allowed to be exported to China.

"Fresh durians could fetch up to RM800 per fruit in Hong Kong," he said, adding that they could easily fetch prices of RM200 to RM300 per kilo in mainland China.