Durian auction goers sniff out the most pricey fruit
The world's nine most expensive durian were auctioned off on Saturday in Nonthaburi to raise funds for an orphanage in Pak Kret district.
One of the kanyao, the king of durian and most expensive variety, was auctioned off for 300,000 baht during "The King of Durian" charity auction. The event was organised by the Agricultural Office of Nonthaburi province, Pracharak Samakkie Company and CentralPlaza WestGate.
Last year, the most expensive kanyao went for 210,000 baht.
Sompong Pisankitvanich, the owner of Ban Bang Khen restaurant, offered the highest bid for the kanyao durian yesterday.
This year, the revenue of 2.05 million baht from the auction will go to Ban Rachawadee in Pak Kret district, with the most expensive monthong -- the most popular type among eaters --auctioned off for 250,000 baht.
The nine durian, three kanyao and six monthong at the auction this year were donated by three durian orchard owners in the province.
All kanyao came from Somnuek Hanjaithai who grew about 1,000 durian in his four-rai orchard in Bang Rak Noi community in Muang district. He donated three kanyao and one monthong.
Bang Rak Noi was once known to be the largest area for durian plantations in Nonthaburi at around 4,000 rai. The big flood in 2011 swept away a large number of durian trees from the orchards in the province.
Mr Somnuek said the severe flood was a disaster for durian orchard owners as the trees are very sensitive and can't resist inundation for a long time. His orchard was among the very few that survived the flood six years ago. He invested almost one million baht in the soil dyke built during the flood to protect around 100 varieties of durian in his orchard.
It's widely known that durian from Mr Somneuk are among the best in the province. Over 90% of durian have been reserved by clients, mostly high-ranking senior officials and high-income earners who want to savour the fruit with mild texture, sweet, buttery flavour and aromatic scent.
Orchard owners in the province began to replant durian on over 1,000 rai of land about five years ago. The yield is expected to be higher next year.
But Mr Somnuek wasn't worried that more durian from Nonthaburi will hit the market next year causing prices to drop. His fruit have become popular and been reserved and sold at 2,000 to 15,000 baht apiece.
Nonthaburi province has been known as one of the country's best places to grow durian, thanks to its fertile soil from the main Chao Phraya river. However, a large number of durian orchards have fallen dramatically due to urban expansion and the floods in 2011. Fertile orchards have been replaced by housing estates and condominiums to serve the growing population.
To preserve the best area for durian plantations, Nonthaburi is set to announce city planning regulations to preserve around 1,000 rai in Bang Rak Noi. Construction projects will be limited and under control, to preserve the agricultural land for durian.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperative, 185,000 tonnes of durian were produced in the Eastern region last month, higher than the same period last year at 110,000 tonnes. The price in the Eastern region has slightly dropped from 75.4 baht per kilogramme from last year to 62.83 baht.
A model shows one of the most expensive kanyao durian auctioned off for 250,000 baht on Saturday at an auction held at the Durian Fair at Central Plaza Westgate in Nonthaburi province.