Unofficial new durian world record (video)

PORT DICKSON, 13 July 2023:

A Malaysian set a new unofficial world record for the highest durian husk tower on 9 July 2023, at the final of the four-day event held since Thursday 6 July 2023 at the PD Ostrich Show Farm in Port Dickson, Negeri Sembilan, to mark the inaugural International Durian Day.

Authorised representatives from Malaysia Book of Records (MBR) were present to see fire technician Mohd Nur’halim Zulkifli, 36, setting the highest durian husk stack of 97cm. His accomplishment far surpassed the other 24 participants, who had earlier reached only a 73cm height.

While this has been the best feat so far, MBR Senior Record Consultant Siti Hajar Johor explained Mohd Nur’halim’s feat does not meet the 1-metre minimum height needed to be recognised as an official world record.

The rules for this record-setting feat was to have a triangular based and all subsequent durian husks could be balanced on each other to build the tower. The attempt had to be completed within 15 minutes and Mohd Nur’halim had reached the 97cm height at the 9 minute 40 seconds mark.

If his durian husk tower had managed to exceed the 1-metre, this stack would need to be stable for at least a 10-second countdown without any human contact to be declared an official world record, explained Siti Hajar.

The video of Mohd Nur’halim’s final seconds can be viewed below:

His attempt just falling shy of the official record was a reflection of how the mid-year peak durian season for 2023 has turned weird as there has been a sudden supply shortage of this ‘King of Fruit’ across Malaysia since Sunday June 25.

The reason for this exotic fruit shortage can be attributed to climate change, said Shahrizan Ab Rahman, who owns Shah’s Durian – a major distributor and retailer handling the supply of durians across Malaysia and also exports to many countries.

In an interview at the recently-concluded International Durian Day event at the PD Ostrich Show Farm in Port Dickson, Negeri Sembilan, Shahrizan noted how this year’s durian supply hit the market far earlier than normal – by end-May.

“The heatwave some months back triggered early durian flowering and that led to some fruits ripening faster than expected. Durian farmers didn’t realise how widespread this impact was and this resulted in an early glut where durian prices fell sharply.

“Because the first batch ripened too early and the next batch of durians, which were not affected by the heatwave and, are ripening normally by end-July, this has seen a sudden lack of durians since Sunday June 25. There should be fresh durians again by July 15 onwards.”

This view was shared by Agriculture Department Negeri Sembilan state director Hisyam Yacob, who noted there had been widespread complaints of fresh durians not being available in recent weeks.

This department had presented information on durian hybrids and industry prospects at the four-day International Durian Day event, which was held from July 6 (Thursday) to July 9 (Sunday) at the PD Ostrich Show Farm.

Event organiser Francis Nantha said Shah’s Durian had been very resourceful to obtain the local ‘durian kampung’ variety from Batu Kurau, Perak – working together with the Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority (FAMA) – to ensure there was fresh supply at the four-day event.

Shah said the prices of durians are expected to rise with the next batch to hit the market, but the interesting industry forecast is that of fresh durians being available right through to mid-October this year – far later compared to when durians would disappear from stalls by mid-August.

“Malaysians should enjoy durians at their current prices because most farmers and suppliers are expecting a major local supply shortage from January onwards, due to resumption of exports to China.”

With such uncertain times ahead for local durian supply – given how this fruit is such a favourite among Malaysians, Nantha explained the International Durian Day event aims to highlight the challenges ahead for the local durian industry.

“It’s time to look beyond just eating the fruit, fresh or in other dishes like cakes and desserts. Many don’t see how 90 per cent of the fruit, the thorny husks and seeds, are being thrown as rubbish.

“These waste products have huge commercial potential due to their high fibre content, which make them very suitable as sustainable chipboard supply for furniture production. The seeds are also edible and the overall high sulphur content, giving the distinct durian smell, make it a great antiseptic.”