PETALING JAYA: PLS Plantation Bhd’s subsidiary Dulai Fruits Enterprise Sdn Bhd inked an exclusive distribution agreement with China’s Cofco Food Import Co Ltd (Cofco Food) to make durians available in major cities and provinces in China.
Cofco Food is the import and distribution subsidiary of China’s largest food processor, manufacturer and trader China Oil and Foodstuffs Corp (Cofco).
Through the agreement signed in Shanghai yesterday, both PLS and Cofco aim to achieve an annual growth rate of 30% or 200 million yuan (RM129.35mil) in the import of all types of durian from Malaysia over the next three years, in line with the growing demand for durian in China.
Justifying the increasing demand for durian in China, Cofco Food vice-general manager Wu Yiran said China’s annual import value of durian has increased more than three-fold in the span of four years, between 2017 and 2020.“In fact, the General Administration of Customs saw the China importing 822 million kg of durian in 2021, which translates to an import value of US$4.2bil (RM19.09bil),” she said. With demand for durian likely to grow in China, she added the partnership will ensure a steady supply of fresh fruits and products, specifically the unique varieties of durian that can only be grown in Malaysia such as musang king, red prawn, and D24.
In a joint statement, it noted PLS is the only listed company in Malaysia that is sponsoring the food security programme and owns durian plantations while, Dulai Fruit, given the Global Trade Certificate by PRC, is one of the pioneers to be certified to export durian from Malaysia to China.
In addition, Dulai Fruits also has a track record as a major processor and exporter of durian to China, especially with their expertise in developing frozen durian products and industry experience in cold chain logistics and warehousing.
PLS group chief executive officer Lee Hun Kheng said China’s emphasis on food security sets a high bar in terms of quality from its suppliers globally.
Lee said the agreement is a significant milestone for PLS as it further enhances the group’s long-term strategy to develop a comprehensive and end-to-end agrofood ecosystem which will support the production, processing and distribution of its products locally and internationally.
He believes that the agreement lays the opportunity for PLS to distribute Malaysian produce to China and the world, while ensuring that Malaysians continue to have access to affordable, quality produce.
He said, through Cofco, Malaysia’s durian will be distributed to China’s cities and provinces, including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen.
“We are working hard to ensure that we meet the booming food and durian demand in both China and Malaysia,” he added.
Dulai Fruits CEO Eric Chan said: “Prominent varieties such as musang king, tekka, and black thorn, among others, are unique to Malaysia due to our country’s climate, rainfall patterns and water source to its distinct soil composition around our Titiwangsa mountain range.”