Davao durian growers urged to enter global market

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/15 March) — With its capacity to meet the required volume and quality for export, it would be easy for the local durian industry to enter the global market.

Marilou N. Infante of the Regional Crop Protection Center, Department of Agriculture (DA) 11, said at the sides of the Durian Summit 2013 here that the industry has to “exploit the windows of opportunity” as “we have learned from the lessons in the past.”

She pointed out that the durian sector should be “palaban” (aggressive) this time in projecting to the global market, citing China, Korea, Japan and the Middle East where demand for durian is high.

But Infante said the industry has to double its efforts and apply best practices in farming to achieve the production of at least eight metric tons per hectare a year before it can export.

She said the region has a total of about 15,000 ha of durian, which can produce about 120,000 metric tons a year should the target production of eight metric tons per hectare would be achieved.

At present, durian farmers in the region can produce only an average of 3.2 metric tons of durian per hectare per year, she said.

Jacinto Adlaon Jr., public information officer of the Durian Industry Council of Davao City, earlier said that in a year, the city produces only two metric tons of durian per ha or 6,000 metric tons of durian in a total of 3,000 ha.

She explained that one of the challenges of the durian industry in the region was hitting the target volume of a certain variety as most durian farms here produce mixed varieties.

She said among the durian varieties produced in the region are Arancillo, Puyat, Chanee, and Duyaya, adding that there are still some varieties of native durian that are yet to be named.

Bernadette San Juan, DA-11 assistant regional director said the department has provided trainings, planting materials and research and development for the durian farmers.

She said research and development takes long but its results have long-term use.

Infante said there were marketing efforts for durian products but these are yet to be consolidated for more substantial results.

San Juan said the domestic market of durian has not been fully saturated.

Both government officials described the durian industry as promising.

They cited that a farmer will have a yearly income of P560,000 from every hectare planted with 100 durian trees if each tree will bear at least 80 fruits and each fruit will weigh two kilograms.

The projected income is based on the P35 per kilo price in the local market. (Lorie Ann Cascaro/MindaNews)