THE Lokam (mandarin oranges) for the coming Chinese New Year celebration will be dearer by between 15% and 30% this year.
Sunshine Wholesale Mart Sdn Bhd Retail Operations director Yee Kam Ming said the reason was due to a strong demand in the domestic market in China with only 30% of its harvest meant for export.
He said another contributing factor was the orchards in Fujian province were also badly hit by typhoon in October and November.
“Other factors included the bad weather during the growing season and the weakening of the ringgit.
“Nevertheless, the lokam harvested in mid-November is of good quality.
“It will be tangy in flavour, and tastes sourish-sweet and intensely sweet,” he said after seeing the first shipment of 6,000 boxes of Lokam being unloaded at Sunshine Square in Bayan Baru here yesterday.
The price of a 4kg box of Lokam is between RM13.68 and RM23.28, depending on the size ranging from S (32 fruits), M (28), L (24) to XL (20),
while the 6kg ones will cost from RM24.88 to RM28.28 per box of M (42 fruits) and L (36).
Last year, a 4kg box of Lokam cost between RM12.50 and RM18 while the 6kg box is between RM22 and RM24.
“We will bring in 30 containers of Lokam for this festive season. Half of it is going to wholesale and another half for retail,” he said.
Yee said the Lokam from Yong Chun in Fujian province, China, was safe for consumption, contrary to reports that pesticides and fungicides were widely used on mandarin oranges to keep them fresh.
“Our Lokam is subject to random checks from various authorities, including the Health Ministry.
“It has gone through all the necessary checks before being released to the masses,” he said.
Yee said the Teochew kam (Teochew mandarin oranges) would only arrive in Penang next week.
He said while the taste and quality of Teochew mandarins were good, the demand for them had gradually decreased as more people prefer Lokam.
“Only the older generations still consume Teochew mandarin oranges,” he said.