DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 21 Dec) – The Davao Durian Council Inc. has urged the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to construct a processing center worth P350 million to back the growing demand for durian in the global market.
Davao Durian Council president Larry Miculob told “Wednesdays at Habi at Kape” that they are proposing that a five-hectare durian processing center be erected beside the Agri-Pinoy Trading Center in Daliao, Toril here.
He said that the DTI has yet to respond on their proposal which will include, among others, processing area, packaging area, and conveyor system.
A bigger processing area, Miculob said, is necessary as they see a growing demand for durian both in the local and export markets.
Once constructed, he said that it will benefit the city generate 1,000 jobs.
Citing the Chinese market, Miculob said that the demand for next year is 100 40-footer container vans.
At present, the growers here are only able to ship out four 40-footer containers due to lack of bilateral trade agreement between China and the Philippines that will allow entry of durian in the Chinese market, he said.
Miculob said they are coursing their durian exports through Thailand and Malaysia, then to China.
He said local growers are able to meet the requirement as the demand by the Chinese market is just around 60 percent of the city’s production capacity, except that they lack a bigger facility.
He said the Chinese market’s buying price is pegged at P200 a kilo.
Miculob said durian growers in Davao City are trying to increase the productivity of the existing trees while they are trying to rehabilitate the areas damaged by the recent El Niño since it “takes durian seven years to commercially produce.”
Some 1,600 hectares planted to durian were destroyed by the El Niño phenomenon.
Of the destroyed areas, Miculob said that some 420 hectares were totally damaged and need to be replanted while those trees that were partially damaged will take about three to four years before they could bear fruit again.
He said they are educating the other farmers on how they can improve productivity as he emphasized the need to develop cooperation among the durian growers to keep sustaining their international buyers.
“We are helping even the nonmembers because we cannot do it on our own,” Miculob said.
He said the city, widely known as the “durian capital” of the country, has 2,800 has. planted to durian but they are proposing to the City Government to allocate another 2,500 to 3,000 has. for durian farming.
Miculob added they want to develop at least 8,000 has. in the whole Davao Region. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)