I'm in the tropics after all/
5 tropical fruits that's a must for a durian orchard in Malaysia - you'll get more satisfaction with the abundance of other fruit produce.
I'd be losing out if I didn't have other types of fruit trees in my durian farm. Rule of the thumb when selecting what fruit trees to plant are always plant what you like to eat and the second rule is plant tree bearing fruits that commands a high market price. Other considerations is to plant fruit trees that is suitable for the type of soil and geographical location and different fruit trees that are not known to have issues being adjacent to each other eg; prone to certain diseases when planted close apart etc.
In my farm, the following are the other fruit tree saplings that I have. They are planted at the same time I've planted my durian saplings:
Often times the mesta is mistakenly recognized as mangosteen, it's actually is a different fruit from the same family. You could read more about this fruit in the internet and it's differences from the mangosteen.
In my farm, there are 7 mesta saplings that was planted. This fruit is seldom seen sold around Tapah and in Kuala Lumpur for that matter. It commands a higher market price than mangosteen by 20%. The saplings I have was sourced from nurseries in Jelebu, Negeri Sembilan state and in Kajang, Selangor state.
Orange in color, it's smell and flesh resembles that of a mango but oval in shape and smaller. Native to areas besides rivers and streams, it's now difficult to find growing in the wild. From my observation, its been years since I last found this fruit being sold in markets, roadside stalls or the supermarket, if there is than those are imported from neighboring Thailand. Market prices are exorbitant for this fruit considering its rarity.
Planted 3 saplings along the riverbank that resembles its natural habitat in the wild. As far as I've read, these kundang trees flourishes near sources of water with damp soils and high humidity surroundings. Current market prices of this fruit (if you could find it), is around RM30-RM45 per kilo which is more expensive than durians losing only to prices of Musang King and Ochee.
In the same plant Family as the jackfruit, breadfruit and nangka, the chempedak is a favorite afternoon tea time snack for Malaysian. The fruit is skinned and the flesh is then deep fried after being covered in flour. In its raw form, it smells sweet and a bit slippery when hold with your hands, The chempedak follows the same path of fried bananas and sweet potato as an afternoon snack.
Trees grow to a maximum of 21 meters high and saplings are normally less prone to diseases although certain pests are normally associated with its adult tree. Fruit bearing starts after the age of 4 years. There are many cultivators of chempedak but only 3 cultivars are recommended to be cultivated as advised by the Agricultural Department which are the CH28, CH30 and CH33 cultivars.
Originates from the same family as the jackfruit, the breadfruit is deep fried, made into dry snacks or boiled and eaten as a vegetable.
The breadfruit tree grows to a height of 20 meter and bear fruit all year round. Nonetheless, the peak period for fruiting is between January - February and July - August.
The tree is easy to grow, mostly disease and pest resistant. It doesn't require heavy fertilization as well.
Locally when observed at roadside stalls, vendors does not sell deep fried breadfruit as they used to years ago. My opinion on this is that breadfruit supplies are hard to come by.
The breadfruit is pick before it ripens and the future potential of this fruit in terms of market demand with a high market price looks very promising.
Local prices for soursop have been steadily increasing thanks to the awareness that soursop juice and tree leaves could be an alternative to cancer prevention. The tree grows to a maximum height of 10 meters and will start to bear fruit at the age of 4 years and could live up to 20 years with proper care and maintenance.
The issue with soursop trees is the difficulty for its flowers to be pollinated thus reducing fruit harvest. It is know that some small commercial growers will manual pollinate its flowers to increase chances of fruit set. Based on research, the pollination of soursop flowers can only be done by the Carpenter Bee species since only this bee could open the petals of the flowers.
Soursop fruit is picked prior to ripening for commercial market.
With that being said, the future potential of the breadfruit in terms of market demand and high market price looks very promising.
Avocado (Persea americana)
In Malaysia the avocado has yet to be planted commercially on large scale farms. Malaysians are not familiar with avocado as a cooking ingredient, side dish nor eaten fresh.
The avocado tree produced from grafting method will start to bear fruit at the age of 3-4 years. The height of the tree is about 15-20 meter but their is also a dwarf variety.
Originated from Mexico, avocados are commercially grown in North America, Australia and South Africa. Most of the avocados sold in Malaysia are imported from South Africa.
Although avocados does not commands a following in Malaysia, the increasing awareness of the fruit's health benefits (high content of unsaturated vegetable fat) will one day accelerate market demand for it.
Adding other tropical fruits to be planted is ultimately the orchard or farm owners decision. Existing owners that I see would normally employ a mono crop farm (exclusively durian only) while some newly developed and newly cultivated orchards will have some numbers of other tropical fruits.
It has to be noted that other tropical fruits will have its own planting requirements and tree management practices. There are also considerations for interactions in terms of harvest yield, fertilization consumption and disease sensitivity between different fruit trees as an example; jackfruit trees are not advised to be planted next or alongside durian trees since it is reportedly a magnet for stem borers which will also infect nearby durian trees.
All this nonetheless will add to the learning curve of the orchard or farm owner.