GEORGE TOWN, June 2  — Between June and August each year, durian orchard owners in Balik Pulau near here would normally rake in huge profits thanks to the fans of the king of fruits who would travel far and wide to get their hands on the best durians an orchard owner could offer.

However, following the implementation of the nationwide total lockdown starting yesterday, these orchard owners may have to face huge losses and the issue of oversupply of the fruits if they could not find ways to market them widely.

Shamsol Abdul Aziz, 34, who owns a 1.6-hectare durian orchard in Sungai Pinang said he had invested more than RM120,000 on quality fertilisers and care for his durian trees last year, hoping for a better yield this season, adding that he was not alone because most orchard owners had invested large amounts on the maintenance of their durian trees.

He said the investment might increase the yield of his orchard up to 17 tonnes this year compared to 11 tonnes last year.

“However due to the implementation of the total lockdown, I may face a loss of RM80,000,” he said when met today.

Before the movement restrictions, durians from his orchard would be marketed in nearly every state in Peninsular Malaysia, especially in Kuala Lumpur.

Shamsol, who has been in the business for 10 years said durian traders had faced the same problem last year due to the enforcement of the Movement Control Order (MCO) that forced them to use various platforms especially online to ensure the fruits could be sold but they had not anticipated that the situation would be more critical this year.

He said sales on the Jom Beli Online, a platform introduced by the Penang Island City Council (MBPP) were not as brisk compared to offline sales.

Siti Hallimaton Ayob, 50, a fellow trader said she and her husband were forced to market the fruits from their orchard to Sungai Dua as demands are higher there, adding due to the 10-km movement restriction, durian lovers could not buy the fruits directly from the orchard owners in Balik Pulau which could lead to an oversupply of durians in the next two weeks.

“I am grateful to the government for allowing traders to operate, but we had to resort to various ways to promote the durians, including making online sales and hiring delivery riders to send durians to buyers,” she said.


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