Sweeter mangoes, quality durian: Fruitful harvest expected amid heatwave in Malaysia

May 03, 2024 | The straitstimes |

Malaysia's current heatwave, attributed to the El Niño phenomenon, is expected to significantly impact various crops. The durian industry, particularly the Musang King variety, anticipates a bumper harvest due to the hot weather. This is because durian trees require very hot conditions to bloom, leading to about 50% more flowering. However, the heatwave also poses challenges, such as the risk of blooms drying up or getting damaged before they mature into fruit. Ensuring adequate water supply is crucial to prevent the trees from drying up and producing "burnt" fruits. Despite these challenges, a higher yield is expected, although this may result in lower prices for the fruit.

Similarly, the Harumanis mango, another prominent Malaysian crop, is expected to benefit from the heatwave. The hot conditions have led to sweeter fruits and a longer harvest period, potentially increasing profits by about 30%. However, mango trees also require careful watering to cope with the intense heat.

On the other hand, the output of Malaysia's key cash crop, oil palm, is expected to decline due to the heatwave. Oil palm trees require substantial water, and irrigation experiments have not yielded the desired results. This anticipated drop in yield is expected despite higher crude palm oil prices, compounding the usual post-strong yield cyclical dip in production.

Overall, while some crops like durian and mangoes may see a bountiful harvest, the heatwave poses significant challenges to maintaining crop quality and managing water resources.

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