KUALA LUMPUR - The supreme durian Musang King is set to meet its right royal challenger - Royal ASFA50, the new "king" on the block.
The variety - which stands for Anniversary Sirajuddin Fauziah 50 - is introduced to mark the 50th anniversary of the marriage of the Raja of Perlis Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin Syed Putra Jamalullail and Raja Perempuan of Perlis Tuanku Fauziah Tengku Abdul Rashid.
ASFA50 is said to taste as good as its internationally renowned cousin but needs only less than half the time to mature.
ASFA50's sole distributing company owner, Ferri Anugerah Makmur, said the latest variety was uniquely fragrant, less pungent and took only three years to yield. It's at least nine years for Musang King.
"The fruit just melts in your mouth from the first bite and it is less gassy than other types. It is sure to be a hit not only with Chinese nationals but also the Europeans," Ferri said at his home base in Ampang here yesterday.
ASFA50 is cultivated by a company owned by Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin.
"We are still conducting R&D on a 50ha plot up north and expect to harvest the fruits in 2020," said Ferri.
The plant, he added, was only 5m tall and 2m wide when fully grown and capable of harvests twice a year.
"Its yield is half the weight of the tree. We have to put up supporters to stop the fruit from touching the ground," he added.
Ferri said the latest variety was created by a Malaysian-born Thai national who took 30 years to get it cloned. He did not name him.
"It's a combination of the Musang King, Udang Merah, Durian Tembaga and Black Thorn, which makes it a resilient tree and much tougher than any cloned species from sapling to the adult tree," Ferri said of the exquisite pedigree of ASFA50.
Ferri said more than 5,000 saplings had been sold so far - at RM150 (S$49) each - to buyers who included VVIPs like former prime ministers Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, and former finance minister Tun Daim Zainuddin, who is known to have planted 75 of the saplings in his spacious home here.
Ferri said the fruit was sold at RM60 (S$19.70) per kg and if demand grew, the company might consider lowering the price to stay competitive.