300 more metric tons of durian expected to be exported to new Asian market

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/15 August) — Durian growers in Davao City may soon export an additional 300 metric tons (MT) of the fruit to a new market in Asia, Larry Miculob, president of the Durian Industry Council of Davao said at the opening of the 3rd Kadayawan Durian Festival at SM Lanang Premier on Friday.

Miculob, however, declined to say where that new market is, explaining they are still at the early stages of discussion with the importers there.

In a recent media forum, he said they have been exporting 30 MT to Singapore for two years and 18 MT to Hong Kong since last year. Another market that is now also being eyed is Japan where they sent 50 samples of seedless and vacuum-packed fresh durian last week.

Miculob advised durian growers to plant more and heed the best practices to jack up production up to eight to 10 MT per hectare from the current 4.6 MT per hectare to fill in the looming supply gap in two years.

“Whoever plants durian, don’t abandon it. Our goal is to increase the productivity,” he said in Cebuano.

If the farmers plant today, they should not worry about oversupply because there will be new export markets where they can ship out their fresh produce by the time the trees start bearing fruits, he said.

He added that trainings have been provided by the Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Trade and Industry, and Department of Science and Technology.

Councilor Marissa Salvador Abella added said the region produced 67 MT of durian in 2014, 90 percent of which came from Davao City.

But DA regional director Remelyn Recoter said production could be higher had it not been for super typhoon Pablo which struck the region in December 2012.

She explained that El Niño, which is expected to persist until August 2016, has delayed the fruiting of some durian trees.

The Durian Industry Council is also expecting a 25 percent drop in the production of durian grown on lowlands this year due to El Niño. But the productivity of durian trees in Calinan, Baguio, and Toril districts has remained stable.

“Early next year, El Niño will intensify. But compared to other regions, the impact on our region will be minimal,” she said.

Abella added that they want to encourage the farmers to go beyond just growing durian, adding that she desires durian growers develop the sense of entrepreneurship.

“After we have organized the farmers, we want to strengthen and capacitate them to become business-minded,” she said.

The councilor will participate in the food trade expo in Nanning, China next month to see what opportunities await the durian growers and other farmers in the city. (Antonio L. Colina IV/ MindaNews)