DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/05 July) – The price of durian might increase next month during the Kadayawan Festival as around 1,600 hectares planted to the crop were destroyed by the El Niño phenomenon.
Davao Durian Council president Larry Miculob said some 420 hectares were totally damaged and need to be replanted, while partially damaged trees will take about three to four years before they could bear fruits again.
The totally damaged areas would have produced 2,310 tons of durian fruits valued at about P9.2 million, he said.
He added the price of durian may stabilize between P50 and P60 a kilo during its season from August to September compared to P20 a kilo for the same period last year.
Current prices of durian range between P12 and P150 a kilo.
Trees in the lowlands sustained most of the damage, while those in elevated areas were saved from the drought and could still provide sufficient fruits for the month-long Kadayawan, Miculob assured.
“Farmers from the highlands will benefit from this, although the prices would be much higher. Durian is like lanzones which has a weak resistance to El Niño compared to other crops,” he said.
Miculob said that they are receiving inquiries from Singapore if they could provide durian meat.
At present, the region is exporting about 30 tons a month of durian to Singapore at $3 a kilo, but Miculob added the country is demanding more and could even buy whatever supply is left.
He, however, said they still need to improve on packaging to meet international standards.
“We should be able to pass the bacterial test. This is an opportunity for us but we are still doing the manual meat extraction. We are not yet mechanized,” he said. “If there is any opportunity, we need to enter the international market. That is our priority this season.”
He added the industry wants to cater to all international buyers as much as possible.
“If there is an opportunity we need to serve initially the international markets. Our priority is to enter this season,” he said. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)