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Saturday, 13 January 2018 | MYT 12:00 AM

30 containers of the festive must-have will be arriving

THOSE celebrating Chinese New Year can expect sweeter lokam (mandarin oranges) due to good weather towards the end of last year in China.

Sunshine Wholesale Mart Sdn Bhd general manager Yee Kam Ming said the lokam imported from Jien O, Yong Chun and Zhangzhou in Fujian province, China, would be more succulent and juicy.

However, he said the bigger-sized lokam would be pricier by 10% to 20%.

“The fruits are more dense in taste and aroma, owing to drier weather in the later part of last year.

“There is less rainfall which allows the trees to produce sweeter fruits.

“There are more smaller-sized oranges this year, as the lokam peaked quicker, with 65% of the fruits between the sizes of SS and S.

“As such, the price of the larger-sized lokam will be higher, coupled with higher domestic demand in China.

“Only the price of the L and XL size lokam has increased due to the shortage this season.

“Rest assured, the increase will be nominal as it is our way of celebrating Chinese New Year with our loyal customers,” he said after overseeing the unloading of 6,200 boxes of lokam at Sunshine Square in Bayan Baru yesterday.

The price of a 4kg box of lokam is between RM13.68 and RM23.88, depending on the size ranging from S, M, L to XL.

The S size lokam will be sold at RM13.68, which is cheaper than last year as it is the majority of the harvest.

The M size lokam is priced at RM16.68, the same as last year.

Only the price of the L and XL size lokam has increased to RM20.88 and RM23.88 respectively compared to RM18.88 and RM23 last year.

Yee said they had maintained the same amount of orders for lokam this year and would be receiving container loads weekly till Feb 12.

“We ordered 30 containers of lokam for sale and wholesale, which are usually sold out a week after Chinese New Year.

“We cannot order more due to shortage of storage space.

“We ordered it early as people would start buying lokam three weeks before the celebration usually for their employees or businesses,” he said.

Yee said the lokam would also be sold loose, with all the sizes mixed for RM4.50 to RM5 per kg.

He said they expected good sales for the mandarin oranges even with the slight price increase, as oranges are considered a must-have festive commodity

Yee said the Teochew kam (Teochew mandarin oranges) from Swatow, Guangdong province,China, have yet to arrive as they were being harvested right now.

“We are expecting them to arrive in more than a week or so, but the demand for them has decreased as more people prefer lokam.

“The crop this year is small and the volume will decrease over the coming years as there is industrialisation in the areas where the Teochew kam are grown.

“There is also lesser demand for Teochew mandarin oranges in the overseas market.

“Teochew kam are usually used for prayers and customers usually just buy a box each,” said Yee, adding that they would be pricier by 10% to 20% as well this year.