Mandarin oranges for Chinese New Year more ap-peel-ing thanks to fruitful harvest season

Favourable weather in China has led to a 20 per cent increase in yield and a drop in prices, said Sunshine Wholesale Mart Sdn Bhd director Yee Kam Ming.


Customers trying out the first shipment of lokam from Fujian, China, at Sunshine Square in Bayan Baru, Penang. PHOTO: THE STAR

January 5, 2024

GEORGE TOWN – Sweeter yet easier on the pockets, this year’s mandarin oranges (lokam) are going to put a big smile on the faces of consumers.

The lower prices mean everyone can have a share of the bumper crop and delight in having the Lunar New Year must-have, which is also loved for its Chinese name “kam” that rhymes with the word for “gold”.

Favourable weather in China has led to a 20% increase in yield and a drop in prices, said Sunshine Wholesale Mart Sdn Bhd director Yee Kam Ming.

He said orchards in Yongchun in Fujian province have had particularly bountiful harvests.

“Over the past six months, there had been adequate rainfall followed by sunny weather.

“The fruits are even larger this year, reaching a peak size of 70mm to 75mm in diameter for the medium sizes and 75mm to 80mm for the large ones.

“This time, the combination of sunshine and dry weather just as the fruits were ripening resulted in mandarins with enhanced sweetness and a vibrant colour.

“It is one of the best harvests in terms of flavour,” he said at Sunshine Square in Bayan Baru yesterday.

Yee, who received his first shipment of over 6,000 boxes of mandarins, said the company would receive a total of 15 shipments.

“With the 20% higher yield, prices are better compared with 2023.

“Larger sizes are 10% to 15% cheaper while the price of smaller ones sees a 5% to 10% drop.

“The M and L sizes collectively contribute to 60% of the total production.”

Yee added that this year, the small mandarins are priced at RM17.58 a box, medium ones at RM19.38, large at RM22.38, and extra-large mandarins at RM24.88 per box.

“Across all sizes, there are noticeable price drops with the biggest observed in the XL mandarins, declining by 37%.

“The price of M mandarins has gone down by 17%, while L size is cheaper by 25%.

“The smallest decrease is the S-size at only 1% lower,” he said.

Malaysia, he said, is the second largest importer of oranges in South-East Asia.

“We are behind Indonesia and ahead of Singapore.

“We expect demand to be high as more people will be willing to spend on these oranges, which are also good gifts for friends and relatives.

“There will be more community events as well, increasing the demand,” he added.

Yee said they offer a separate wholesale price for those who order 50 or 100 cartons and above.

On other mandarin orange varieties that will be offered at Sunshine, Yee said there are also the Red Beauty, Papagan, Wogan and Shatang King (small tangerine).

All of them experienced strong growth and boast excellent taste and flavour, he said.

Red Beauty, Papagan and Wogan, he noted, are considered premium-grade oranges and are high in demand.

“These oranges that are new to the local market are pricier but tasty.

“They originated in other countries but were brought into China for cultivation,” he added.

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