It is now mid November, durian trees which are bearing fruits are starting to drop its ripened fruits. In total, I have four trees this year which are fruit bearing. A small amount even for a non-commercial farm.
Due to the fact that I don't tend and wait on the farm during night time nor did I pay someone in doing the same, my schedule for fruit collecting is done in the morning at about 9 am and again in the afternoon at 5 pm. This would mean that any fruit dropped between 5 pm to 9 pm the next day would only be collected at 9 pm the next day. That is more than 12 hours maximum a fruit will stay on the ground and mostly at night time. Evidently this proves to be a major disadvantage since during the whole night any fruit drop would eventually be eaten or damaged by wild boars.
The collected fruits will then be brought to my house for the below processing:
1. Debris cleaning of the fruit skin
4. Freshness preservation
The middle man would come at noon for buying the 9 am fruit collection and a second time at 9 pm for the 5 pm fruit collection.
As fruit grade contributes to the price fetched from the middle man, the grading activity is regarded as the most important post-harvest activity. The grading is made in accordance with the below standards (for native or kampung durian). I can't advice on the grading for clone durians because I don't have any producing adult clone durian trees as of now:
Durian Fruit Grading
Grade - A
Only applicable for clone durian fruits and not the kampung durian.
Grade - B
Given to fruits which weights 2 kg or more with no insect puncture holes or other physical damage.
Grade - C (live)
Given to fruits which weights less than 2 kg but not less than 1 kg with no insect puncture holes or other physical damage.
Grade - C (dead)
Given to fruits which weights less than 1 kg with multiple insect puncture holes or other physical damage.
My take on this grading standards is that it forces a disadvantage to the durian farmer. Why I say this is because firstly there is no Grade A which supposed to fetch the highest price for the farmer. Another point is that Grade B itself is difficult to comply with. Getting a fruit weighing 2 kg or more for a kampung durian is not common let alone weighing no less than 2 kg with no insect puncture holes damage.
Lessons Learnt from 1st Harvest Monetization
Having experience in my first year of fruit harvesting and fruit bulk selling, the corrective actions and plan for next year will be as follows:
1. Phase fertilization of fruit bearing trees
Next year, fertilization will be done according to the fruiting phases (pre-flowering, flowering, early/middle/end fruit bearing). This is with the objective for getting more volume of fruits with optimum weight.
2. Tree smoking
Smoking is done for the sole purpose of preventing insect puncture hole damages and larvae damages to the fruits. As discussed above and looking at the condition of my fruits this year, insect damage contributes significantly to the lower grading of my fruits.
Smoking is planned to be conducted on a weekly basis. A fire will be set near the trunk base of each tree and be controlled to mitigate risk of spreading. Coconut husks is planned to be the material to ignite the fire since it is quite readily available as a by-product here.
3. Direct market selling
In order to fetch the highest possible market price, the fruits are better off being sold directly to the market myself. Assuming the volume and the grades are constant, selling it directly to the actual buyers guarantee maximum price thus maximum profit margins.
The issue for farmers and growers not being able to sell their harvest directly to the market is due to lack of infrastructure, sales team and abundance of daily harvest. As the fruit continuously ripens even after it falls off the tree branch, an high daily volume harvest would result in the fruits not being able to be sold to buyers if the demand is lower than the daily supply.
I may be missing on other considerations to increase the harvest sales. I would appreciate if there are any comments that can be shared in the below comment form.