Vendors, farmers in Brunei cash in on durian season

Despite the high price for durians, local vendors still enjoy good business and are expecting to see a rise in sales later in the fruit season when prices eventually drop due to abundant supply.

Durian sellers interviewed by The Brunei Times said that sales have yet to pick up as prices for the fruit are still high which is normal for the beginning of the season.

"It's normal for suppliers to give a higher price when the fruit season first starts. (This is because) people are willing to pay more for the durian since there are only a few stalls selling durian at this time," said Nani Hj Dayang, who runs a stall at the Jerudong Beach.

She added that she prices her durians according to the pricing of her suppliers and said that the first harvest is always the most expensive.

Despite the high price, Nani said that she has been able to sell a few durians as some of her regular customers have placed bookings for the best selling variety of durian, the 'Musang King'.

"Some durian enthusiasts don't mind the price as long as they get their fix. My best seller is the Musang King, a few of my regular customers have asked me to put aside a few for them because it's a bit difficult to find now," she said.

Another vendor at Pantai Jerudong who only wanted to be identified as Sarimah, said that she decides the price of her durians based on the suppliers' price as well as the prices of other vendors.

"I have to make sure that my prices are competitive, I can't price them too low as I need to make a profit too and obviously I wouldn't attract any customer if my prices are too high," she said.

She said that when the durians from her own orchard have ripened and are ready to sell, although it would be possible for her to sell at a lower price, she still tries to keep her prices similar to other vendors' prices.

"I would like to sell my own durian at a lower price but I have to also look at the prices of vendors here and follow their prices because some would complain that I'm taking away their (business)," she said.

According to her, vendors would only start seeing better business in a few weeks time when there is already an abundant supply of durians and farmers start lowering their prices.

"Now we're selling the local variety 'durian kuning' at $25 for a stack of five, when the supply starts to increase, it could go down to $10 and this is when we attract a lot more customers," she said.

Yakub Ismail, who sells durians at a stall along Jalan Muara, said that he will only start selling durians once the ones in his orchard are ripe as it would be too expensive to get from suppliers.

"I only sell durians from my own orchard because I'm able to give a lower price compared to other vendors and attract more customers," he said.

Hj Asmat Kifli, who is fond of durians, said that he is looking forward to when durian prices drop as he usually buys in bulk for his family.

"I haven't started buying durians yet because it's too expensive. I look forward to the durian season every year and usually buy 20 to 30 at a time which only lasts my family two to three days," he said.