China to become biggest market of Davao durian

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/10 August) – China will soon become the top export destination of durian from Davao Region, Davao Durian Industry Association Council (DIADC) president Larry Miculob said.

Miculob said in an interview at the opening of the Kadayawan’s Durian Festival at the SM Lanang Premier on Friday evening that three Chinese buyers, one of them an owner of a convenience store with 1,800 outlets, have reached out to the local growers to supply them with huge volumes of durian fruit.

He said the Chinese buyers are willing to import as much as the local growers can produce but added the region remains incapable of producing huge volumes if the fruit.

According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, the region produced 59,027 metric tons of durian in 2018, higher by 14% compared to 51,818 MT produced in 2017.

Davao is exporting small volume of durian to Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan, Miculob said.

He added the council hopes to ship out at least half of the region’s production to stabilize the prices of the durian in the local market, particularly during its peak season every third quarter of the year, when the supply goes up and prices are down.

He said local farmers would earn more when prices are stable.

Different varieties of durian are sold at the festival, which will run until September 9, such as Arancillo, D101, Puyat, Monthong and Chanee. Prices range from P50 to P80 a kilo but customers can also avail of the durian buffet at P180.

Duokon Tang, deputy Chinese consul general, said durian is a popular fruit among Chinese in the Southern part of China.

“They like durian very much, and personally I feel durian here in Mindanao is very special because it just tastes delicious, it has a less spongy taste like those in other countries in Southeast Asia,” he said.

He said they are already working on the import procedures.  He said the process would take time but assured, “we are working fast on it.”

Miculob said he hopes the Chinese government will include durian as one of the crops that can be directly exported to China from the Philippines, as it only allows direct shipment of mangos, pineapples, bananas and coconuts.

Local growers can expect more fruits and agricultural products to be shipped to China, following the closer strategic trade relations between the two countries pursued by Chinese President Xi Jinping and President Rodrigo R. Duterte.

Last month, Davao-based Eng Seng Food Products shipped 48 tons, which is equivalent to 36,000 pieces of aromatic coconuts to Guangzhou and Xiamen in China, after the Philippines complied with export protocol allowing entry of the coconuts from Mindanao and Leyte province.

Duterte witnessed the contract signing between the local company and its counterpart China Artex Corporation Fujian Company during the 2nd Belt and Road Forum in Beijing last April for a  one-year exportation of 64.5 million MT of young coconuts.

Eng Seng Food Products President John Tan said this development could give opportunity to Filipino farmers as there is huge demand in China for the aromatic variety. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)