Davao durian grower eyes Japan market

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DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/10 August) — A durian grower in Davao City is planning to expand his global reach to Japan within the year after making it to the Singapore and Hong Kong markets.

Speaking in Monday’s Kapehan sa Dabaw, Larry Miculob, president of the city’s Durian Council, said he will send within the week 50 samples of seedless and vacuum-packed fresh durian to Japan.

He added the potential Japanese market would like to make durian as a base ingredient for smoothies.

If push comes to shove, he said, he will tap other growers to supply the Japanese market.

He said the growers in the city have previously started to export 30 tons of whole durian to Singapore since two years ago and 18 tons last year to Hong Kong.

He lauded the passage of Republic Act 10667, or the Philippine Competition Act, and RA 10668, or the Foreign Co-Loading Act, which amended the 50-year old Cabotage Law.

A fruit vendor arranges durian at his stall along F. Torres St. in Davao City on Tuesday (30 June 2015). Durian costs 70 pesos a kilo, but during peak season, it can go as low as 25 pesos. MindaNews file photo by Toto Lozano
A fruit vendor arranges durian at his stall along F. Torres St. in Davao City on Tuesday (30 June 2015). Durian costs 70 pesos a kilo, but during peak season, it can go as low as 25 pesos. MindaNews file photo by Toto Lozano

RA 10667 provides “for a national competition policy prohibiting anti-competitive agreements, abuse of dominant position and anti-competitive mergers and acquisitions.”

Meanwhile, RA 10668 allows “foreign vessels to transport and co-load foreign cargoes for domestic transshipment.”

After President Benigno S. Aquino III signed the measures, Miculob said exporters are expecting a competitive freight cost, as the laws open the floodgates for foreign vessels to as well service local players.

He urged the farmers to learn the techniques on how to grow durian trees that yield more fruits.

The average yield of farmers per hectare in 2013 was at 4.6 tons, lower than neighboring Thailand’s 10 tons.

Davao Region has some 10,000 hectares planted to durian. The small durian growers have an average area of 1.5 hectares each.

The industry is also faced with some challenges. Among them is the lack of processing facility such as cold storage, the food safety requirement, and good manufacturing practices from the Department of Agriculture and Department of Trade and Industry to meet export standards.

The industry is also expecting a 25-percent drop in harvest this year due to El Niño phenomenon or the dry spell that is projected to persist until August 2016.

The decrease could also be partly blamed on lack of preparation during the flowering period in March, April, and June, although growers are expecting more supply starting September, the durian season.

Miculob said he sees no problem in the production of durian in Calinan, Baguio, and Toril districts.

The current market price of durian ranges from P30 to P40 per kilo.

A Durian Festival will also be held at the SM Lanang Premier from August 14 to September 20, where some 9 growers will display various varieties of the fruit. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)

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