The Economics of the Durian Fruit Industry in Malaysia

At the moment, most durian fruit is sold on the domestic market. The reason for this is simple. Though international interest in durian fruit is growing, it’s a slow process that’s complicated by the fact that because of the fruit’s intense odor, some shipping companies refuse to have anything to do with the fruit. So, until there’s more global interest in the fruit, durian producers prefer to focus their attention and energy to marketing to local buyers who consider the fruit a delicacy. While this keeps local money circulating, to really be considered a valuable crop, produces need to introduce new money into the local economy, which means generating additional international interests.

Durian producers in Thailand have come up with the most successful strategy for promoting and exporting their crop, but producers in Malaysia are quickly catching on. As of 2015, Malaysia was the second largest exporter of the tropical fruit. Economists estimate that the industry brought $17.9 million United States dollars into the country.

While $17.9 million U.S. is nothing to scoff at, the United States doesn’t represent Malaysia’s best client. Malaysian durian producers have done an excellent job of improving the overall quality of the fruit they sell, which has made Malaysian durian fruit very popular in Singapore, one of the only countries in Southeast Asia were durian fruit isn’t cultivated. Malaysia also exports a great deal of the fruit to nearby Thailand, were the producers are unable to keep up with both international and domestic demand.

It’s worth noting that the sale of Durian fruit is just one way that Malaysian producers make money off their orchards. Just like vineyards and wineries invite paying guests to tour their facilities, durian producers have discovered that becoming a stop on durian tours is a great way to supplement their own incomes. The producers enjoy an opportunity to promote their business while the visitors gain first hand insight into how durian fruit is grown, while also enjoying an opportunity to taste new methods for preparing durian and sampling different durian fruit varieties. The durian fruit tourism industry is a hug boon for the local economy.


“A Beginner’s Guide To Durian by Tourism Malaysia”. Durian Info. Web. Accessed 23 October 2017

“Durian Marketing in Malaysia and FAMA”, Durian Info. Web. Accessed 24 October 2017

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