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Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak (centre) with Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (2nd from left) and Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek (left) at the FAMA durian exhibition booth in Parliament today. NSTP pix by ZULFADHLI ZULKIFLI

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysians may have to pay more for durians in the months to come, as the demand for the king of fruits is exceeding its supply.

Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek said the supply would likely fall by 30 per cent due to changing weather patterns.

“This is why the Musang King is so expensive nowadays,” he said, in reference to the highly sought after durian.

In 2013, the average retail price for Musang King was RM36.50 per kilogram.

It shot up to this year to an average of RM90 per kilogram, an increase of 42 per cent.

Other the prices for other varieties such as Durian Kampung and D24 have also increased significantly, at all levels of the supply chain.

Noting that the rise in durian prices had made a lot of farmers rich, he said that durian was now an industry in its own right with a value of RM1.2 billion.

“Last year, the export value of durian was RM74 million and we expect that it will increase by a 10 per cent this year.

“Our major markets are China and Hong Kong,” he told reporters during a campaign to promote local fruits at the Parliament today.

More than three tonnes of durian from all varieties were served to visitors including MPs.

Various durian byproducts such as mooncake, ice cream, biscuits and coffee were also given away for free.

Among those who dropped by to savour the fruits included Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

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