Davao durian growers gear for increasing market demand in China


December 22, 2016
DAVAO CITY — Durian growers in Davao City are gearing towards increasing their productivity as demand for processed durian in China is increasing.
Larry Miculob, chairperson of the Davao City Durian Council, told reporters in Davao City on Wednesday that buyers in China are requiring 100 container vans of processed durian starting in 2017.
The high demand for durian, Miculob added, is the result of the reopening of the banana market in said country as President Rodrigo Duterte was able to rebuild the Philippines’ good relationship with China.
He said that last year, the council was only able to ship four container vans of processed durian to China.
Miculob attributed the low durian export to the decrease of production this year due to the onslaught of El Niño phenomenon and the non-inclusion of durian as among the fruits for export to China and other countries in signed bilateral agreements.
Around 40 percent of durian productions in Davao City were destroyed by the long dry spell that affected most of agricultural lands in Mindanao from the last quarter of 2015 to early parts of this year.
On the problem of non-inclusion of durian, Miculob pointed out that only mango, banana, pineapple and papaya are included in the list of fruits that are for export to China.
He added that the council has already requested the Philexport to discuss with the Export Management Bureau of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to include durian in the list of fruits for export to China.
“If durian will be included in the list of exportable fruits to China then we can directly ship our products to our buyers,” Miculob stressed.
He said that the shipment of the four container vans of processed durian to China this year was coursed through other markets in Thailand because they cannot directly ship the same to their buyers.
“We are at the disadvantaged side on that situation because of the extra expenses that we incurred in the process of coursing our products to Thailand before reaching our buyers in China,” he lamented.
Miculob also aired the industry’s need for more support from the government in order to improve their production to meet the increasing demand for durian in the international market.
“We requested the city agriculture office in Davao City to add 2,000 to 3,000 hectares of agricultural lands for durian plantation,” he said.
The durian council, which has 18 registered members, covers only around 150 hectares of lands devoted to durian, with an estimated yearly production of eight tons per hectare.
Davao City has a total land area of 2,800 hectares planted to durian, Miculob added.
Volume in durian production starts in July until October while lean months run from February to April each year.
Another support the council asked from the government is the provision of processing facilities.
“We have an existing request at the DTI for bigger production facilities not only for durian but also to other fruits,” Miculob said.
The high demand for processed durian in China will require huge processing facilities for growers as it will eat up around 60 percent of durian production in Davao City.
“If the delivery for China is materialized, only 40 percent of our durian production will be left for local consumption and market,” he added.
Miculob also encouraged other durian growers in nearby provinces to increase their areas of durian production.