XI'AN - Malaysia is hoping to export fresh durian to China to cash in on a strong demand worth millions of ringgit, said Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
He said he had made the request with the Chinese government during a meeting with his counterpart, Chinese Agriculture Minister Han Changfu two weeks ago.
"I hope to see positive progress during the bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and China's Premier Li Keqiang," Ismail said after visiting the Malaysia-Xi'an Halal Food Festival Week here yesterday.
Najib is in China for a six-day official visit to mark the 40th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between Malaysia and China.
Ismail said there had been a great demand for the King of Fruits since the fruits in frozen package entered the Chinese market in 2011.
He said that eventually all durian products had been much sought after by the locals.
He added that the sale of frozen durian and related products in China increased from RM4.7mil (S$1.83 mil) in 2011 to RM20mil this year.
Apart from durian, Ismail said the ministry also recommended China to import other Malaysian fruits such as jackfruit, mangosteen and pineapple.
On the response of halal products in China, Ismail was quoted by Bernama as saying that as the capital of western China's Shaanxi province, Xi'an is the gateway to enter the country's vast halal market.
He said other provinces around Shaanxi are also in need of halal products from Malaysia and the ministry would make Xi'an as the entry point to penetrate other areas.
Currently, there are about 200 stock-keeping units of Malaysian halal products at the Xi'an San Bao Shuangxi (International) Halal Food Trading Mart, a local halal products supermarket.