Malaysian Forests Are Disappearing Because Chinese Love Durians Too Much
China is being blamed for causing a massive deforestation in Malaysia due to its high demand for durian
Environmentalists warned that large areas of jungle were cleared for the purpose of growing the 'king of fruits', Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported.
Sophine Tann, from environmental protection group PEKA, revealed this following research on land clearances for the fruit.
"This deforestation for planting of durians is in preparation to meet that demand," said Tann.
Chinese citizens are especially loving Malaysia's "Musang King" because of its creamy texture and sweet taste
A Beijing fruit store owner claimed that his customers tend to "fall in love" with durian from Malaysia rather than other countries like Thailand because of the sweet taste, AFP reported.
"Thai durians have a stronger flavour and you tend to get sick of it after a while, but not the ones that I buy from here," said university student Liu Zelun, who buys Malaysian durian from the shop.
Meanwhile, durian-flavoured food are also being sold in China including pizza, butter, salad dressing, and milk.
According to a Free Malaysia Today (FMT) report in November, Musang King prices have increased by four times within the past five years. Yet, Chinese are still willing to pay top dollar for the fruit.
To cater to the high demand, vast amounts of trees were recently chopped down in Raub, Pahang to make room for durian plantations
AFP reported that a sign placed outside of the plantation showed that Ample Harvest Produce was behind it, but the company declined to comment when contacted on the loss of trees.
Last year in Kelantan, Orang Asli set up blockades to prevent a durian plantation company from setting up a Musang King plantation. Later, the company reportedly sent thugs to destruct those blockades.
"We thought they were here to talk, but suddenly, they got out of their vehicles, took out their chainsaws and started destroying the blockade," president of the Jaringan Kampung Orang Asli Kelantan Mustafa Along told Malaysiakini.
According to environmentalists, deforestation for durian is also destroying the homes of wildlife
Environmental group Rimba warned that deforestation is causing the "destruction of critical habitat for wide-ranging animals such as tigers, elephants, primates, and hornbills," AFP reported.
The demand for durian in China may be high, but people are spending Rm4,100 for this Indonesian man's durian: