7 December 2021 (closed)
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The climate of Indonesia is well-suited for growing various sorts of (tropical) fruit. According to information from Indonesia's Agriculture Ministry, there are 60 types of fruit that have the potential to grow in Indonesia. One of these fruits is the durian. The durian fruit, native to Southeast Asia, is regarded the "king of fruits" due to its distinctive (large) shape and rich flavor (although some dislike the taste). Durian is also known as being the smelliest fruit in the world due to its distinctive (read: awful) smell.
The durian fruit, primarily found in Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam and Malaysia, enjoys widespread popularity in Indonesia and abroad. Due to high demand and the limited supply (it is a seasonal fruit, although due to the various types of durian - each having a slightly different harvest period - harvests can basically continue throughout the year) the price of durian is usually quite high. However, compared to other countries the price of durian fruit is relatively low in Indonesia as local production exceeds domestic consumption. The price difference between durian at the farm level and at the consumer level differs approximately five-fold.
According to a survey from Survei Sosial ekonomi Nasional (conducted between 2002 and 2013), Indonesia's per capita durian consumption stood at 1.18 kilogram per year in 2013, while national production was estimated at 750,000 tons in 2014. Production of durian in Indonesia is expected to rise as the size of durian plantations grow by an average of 3.7 percent per year, while productivity at plantations rises by an average of 4.8 percent (y/y).
Remarkably, Indonesia is a net importer of durian fruit, despite data indicating that local durian production exceeds local consumption. Indonesia imports durian from Thailand (the world's largest durian exporter), Vietnam and Malaysia. Indeed, imports of durian somewhat fell in line with new government policy. In 2012 the Indonesian government put in place a more protectionist approach regarding horticultural products by limiting the number of ports that are allowed to import horticultural products. Moreover, Indonesia's busiest port of Tanjung Priok in Jakarta was not selected. Meanwhile, new regulations also state that only registered importers can deal with horticulture imports. To become a registered horticulture importer a company is required to obtain a recommendation from the designated directorate general at the Ministry of Agriculture.
To boost domestic production and exports of durian there are various matters that can be improved (and need some support from the government). Currently, Indonesia only has small-scale durian plantations, while it would be far more effective to have big plantations as smallholder farmers usually have limited financial resources to invest in good seeds as well as fertilizers and lack high quality farming techniques (however, the rising productivity per hectare in terms of durian production in Indonesia signals that farmers are increasingly using better techniques and materials).
The government can also help by supporting durian farmers financially (offering subsidized loans) and educate them about the best farming techniques as well as providing information about export procedures (these procedures also need simplification). Last but not least, the government needs to continue its quest to improve the nation's infrastructure so that transportation becomes easier (while logistics costs ease).
It is also interesting to note that there have emerged various processed food products that contain durian fruit. For example, more and more restaurants now have durian soup on the many and in many supermarkets you can find durian ice-cream. It is positive that this developing downstream industry can somewhat absorb the local oversupply of durian.