KUALA LUMPUR: Despite the slow global economy and all the challenges, Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority (Fama) expects 2020 to be an optimistic year for the durian industry.
With Malaysia experiencing high rainfalls and farms lacking manpower support due to the imposed Movement Control Order, it is expected that there will be lower-than-normal yield at below 300,000 metric tonnes this durian season.
Fama states that due to the prohibition of communal activities, "Malaysians may not be able to enjoy it by the roadside this year - squatting by roadside stalls and digging one's fingers into soft, creamy yellow flesh as the country battles against Covid-19, but the consumption will remain strong in line with the nation's love for durian".
As Fama encourages sellers to embrace e-commerce as a way to boost durian sales during this challenging period, e-commerce platform Shopee on the other hand has found that Malaysian durian sellers have been unperturbed by the disruptions and are very progressive in their approach to e-commerce.
Noting new and interesting trend on its platform organically attracting durian farmers from across the country as they bring offerings of D24, Musang King, XO, Hor Lor, Udang Merah and more online with many have also gotten creative with campaigns calling like "Duduk Rumah, Makan Durian" in order to stay relevant.
Shan Cheng Durian, who used to take tourists tour its 12-acre farm in Balik Pulau, Penang, revealed that the outbreak has stopped all activities at its farm.
Looking at innovative ways to keep the durians fresh and delicious, the company's co-founder and business manager, Leow E Shuen, said there are many things to consider when going online.
"Freshness of the durian is one of them. To ensure that our customers receive the best quality, we collect the durians from the farm in the morning, open and repack into boxes and vacuum pack them before it goes out for delivery on the same day. With so many sellers now going online, it boils down to quality, service and price to win the crowd," he said.
As Covid-19 outbreak impacted the sales of its processed products such as durian puffs and ice cream by 50 per cent, Mountain Cat Durian, a Puchong-based company whose 20-acre farm is in Broga, Negri Sembilan, experienced financial struggles from the overhead expenses such as labour and factory commitment.
"With our offline and business-to-business (B2B) sales being hit amid rising cost pressures, we realised it was time for us to explore an offline-to-online model to sustain the business and ensure that our durians do not go to waste. The current circumstance is an eye opener for us. It showed us that we cannot be complacent in our approach by ignoring the digital world," said the company's co-founder Ma Tuck Mun. Its Musang King pulp is currently their bestseller on Shopee.
Shopee's regional managing director, Ian Ho, shared that the company understands that e-commerce site may be daunting for first-time online sellers such as durian sellers which is why they've assigned a dedicated team to assist those in need of help.
Shopee further revealed that the keyword search for "durian" on its platform has begun trending, signifying consumers' interest as the season kicks off.
In a bid to help the durian sellers sustain their incomes and give Malaysians their durian fix, Shopee will be featuring both Shan Cheng Durian and Mountain Cat, along with 500 other durian and fruit sellers in its 6.6 Super Sale happening from now until June 6, 2020 with durians going on Shocking Sale at RM0.66 with an added 10 per cent in-store discount for selected sellers throughout the campaign.
"The effects of Covid-19 have translated into many other aspects of our lives beyond health. With more durian sellers coming online, Malaysians can get them from our platform to be enjoyed safely at home," said Ho.
For even more savings on a wide assortment of products, deals start from only RM0.66; enjoy free shipping with a minimum spend of RM16 as well as score daily RM6 vouchers this 6.6 Super Sale.
There will also be a 6.6 Shopee Live Festival featuring Taiwanese pop stars Alien Huang, Emma Wu, Tiffany Hsu, Sam Tseng and Blaire Chang as well as local stars Nabila Razali, Pongpong, Shalma Eliana and Yonnyboii.
The session will culminate with Malaysia's queen of pop Datuk Sri Siti Nurhaliza on June 6.
Users can also play Shopee Poly, Shopee Treasure Box, Shopee Catch, Flip & Match and more to keep entertained.
Source: New Straits Times