Musang King durian grown in Vietnam has seen prices dropping to a historic low of VND80,000 ($3.25) per kilogram, down 70% year-on-year due to low quality.
In the southern province of Tien Giang, farmer Ha recently chopped down 200 Musang King trees to replace them with another crop after growing them for six years only to accumulate losses of VND6 billion ($244,600).
“This season I sold them for only VND80,000 kilogram, lower than some other varieties,” he said.
Musang King, a durian variety originally from Malaysia has been hailed as the “best in the world.”
Mai, a farmer in the central highland province of Dak Lak, said that in previous years trader were competing to buy the Musang King durian for up to VND700,000 per kilogram, but this year few buy them.
Musang King yield is only half that of Thailand’s Monthong because the former’s fruit size is smaller, but she was able to sell it for only VND100,000 per kilogram, even cheaper than the latter.
Industry insiders say that Musang King grown in Vietnam has lower quality than in Malaysia, and the flesh can be cloying for some customers. Thailand’s Monthong and Vietnam’s Ri 6 varieties therefore are more preferred.
Dang Manh Khuong, a trader in the southern city of Can Tho, said that Musang King fails to compete with other varieties in terms of price and productivity and therefore its prices have plunged.
Bui Van Cuong, who has been studying durian varieties for 20 years, said that Musang King trees can easily fail to produce high quality fruits if farmers lack the necessary techniques.