The Musang King is the current rave among durian connoisseurs in Malaysia. The taste is so special and so is the price. It is more than double that of the ordinary varieties.
In the Philippines, Dr. Pamplona, the country’s foremost fruit expert, is also very enthusiastic about this variety which he has previously acquired and now has fruiting trees like the one in photo. In his article in Agriculture Magazine published by the Manila Bulletin, he writes that the current favorite durian in the Phiippines is the Puyat variety. But last fruiting season, people who have tasted his Musang King harvest declared that the taste of Musang King is far superior to Puyat.
He pointed that consumers in China which is a big market also prefer the Musang King, prompting some of the durian farmers in Thailand to plant this Malaysian variety in their farms which they intend to export. Other varieties which are well accepted in the domestic and export markets are the Monthong, Kradumtong of Thailand.
Dr. Pamplona is excited about durian production because he sees a huge demand in the foreign market, especially China which has enjoyed economic progress in the past years. The purchasing power of many Chinese is enabling them to purchase fruits and other high-value products. Aside from China, South Korea, Europe and other countries are also big markets for durian and other fruits like longkong lanzones and mangosteen.
Dr. Pamplona writes that in recent years, Malaysia and China signed an agreement for Malaysia to supply the China market with 20 20-foot container vans of semi-processed durian. The price is US$1.90 per kilo. In 2019, Malaysia will also supply China with unprocessed durian fruits.
While the production of durian in the Philippines is just a small fraction of the production in Thailand and Malaysia, there is a place for durian from the Philippines because the harvest season in the Philippines occurs just when the harvest from the two countries is over.
Dr. Pamplona writes that the peak durian season in Thailand and Malaysia is within April to August. On the other hand, the volume of durian harvest in the Philippines occurs in August to November. So the harvest from the Philippines can prolong the supply of durian in the export market.
Dr. Pamplona said that the total hectarage of durian in the Philippines is only 17,000. What is needed, he said, is to expand the planting to eight times more. By using improved techniques of production, local farmers can derive big income from growing durian. Of course, he recommends the planting of known varieties that are adaptable to the Philippines and which are also acceptable in the export market.
Instead of planting small grafted seedlings, Dr. Pamplona recommends the planting of large planting materials. These are the plants that have been grown to at least five feet tall in plastic nursery bags. By doing so, the farmer can expect to harvest the first fruits in five years from planting. Farmers should also plant those that are known to be resistant to phytophthora disease, the most destructive disease of durian.
Dr. Pamplona says that durian is recommended for planting at a distance of 8×8 meters in well-prepared field with deep loamy soil. Durian trees are best planted in places where there is good distribution of high amount of rainfall the whole year round except for a two to three months of relatively dry condition. The short dry period followed by rain induces the plant to flower for fruiting. In places with long dry period, irrigation using drip or sprinkler system is highly recommended.