PETALING JAYA - It is literally a less fruitful year for Malaysians with a 60 per cent drop in local fruit production brought about by the recent dry spell.
Fruits have also become costlier with price rises of between 50 sen and 60 sen a kilo for many varieties.
The situation is not likely to get any better as the year progresses.
With the Meteorological Department forecasting another dry spell later, fruit growers are bracing for another round of poor harvests.
Malaysian Fruit Farmers Association president Hong Jok Hon said the drop in supply of fruits, including limes, guava, mangoes, papayas, watermelons and starfruit was expected to last until July before the situation returned to normal.
However, he said the drought expected between June and October might cause the harvests to be poor during the next season.
Hong said the prices of these fruits had risen by about 15 per cent or an average of 50 cents to 60 cents per kilo, depending on the type of fruit.
Fruits usually take a longer time - between four and six months - to be harvested as compared with vegetables.
He said the production of fruits was expected to drop in May.
"In my own farm, I used to get about 7,000 to 8,000 mangoes and jackfruits a week but the number has dropped to 1,000 fruit," he said.