Davao durian exports pick up amid shortages

Subscribe Now July 16, 2014 at 10:18am

A Davao-based agricultural company expects to enter final negotiations next week with a Japanese company to export blast-frozen and vacuum-packed durian.

“We will be negotiating the price when they get here by third week of the month. They will also inspect our new blast freezing machine which cost us around P15 million,” said Candelario Miculob, owner of Miculob Farm and president of the Davao Durian Industry Council.

Mr. Miculob said the terms of the deal are about 80% agreed. He declined to give the name of the buyer, which is also interested in other fruits like fresh pineapple and mango.

Miculob Farm started exporting fresh durian to Singapore in September and is now preparing for higher demand. The initial export volume to Singapore of 500 kilos a week rose to 2,000 kilos or two metric tons (MT) in April 2014.

“The demand exceeded our supply so we were not able to send fresh durian to Singapore beginning May but we will start exporting to them again by August when the peak season of durian starts,” said Mr. Miculob, adding that the Singapore market prefers the Puyat variety although other types like Arancillo and Cob have also been shipped there.

Mr. Miculob said they tapped other durian growers but the Singaporean buyer has noticed differences in flavor, which results from varying growing methods.

As a result, the Davao Durian Industry Council has started conducting farm and cultural management training for farmers in Calinan, Davao City to ensure consistency in the quality of produce.

For the long term, Mr. Miculob said there is currently not enough area planted to durian in the Davao Region to meet the expected increase in both export and domestic demand.

“Malaysia and Thailand are already experiencing shortages of durian and most of them buy from Davao through the backdoor so it is not officially monitored,” he said.

The area planted to durian in the Davao Region is only 6,000 hectares, of which 2,500 hectares are in Davao City. Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority show Region 11 producing 70,063.66 MT in 2013, with 55,955.80 MT from Davao City.

There has been a reduction in the durian harvest in the past two years after typhoon Pablo destroyed many durian farms in the region in 2012. A shift to cacao production has also affected supply.

Mr. Miculob said the council will push for an expanded area for durian, noting the stability of prices and demand for the fruit.

He added that cacao, which may be in high demand now due to the lack of supply from West Africa, is unstable in terms of prices, and is also more capital and operations intensive.

However, it only takes three years to harvest cacao compared to five years for durian.

Meanwhile, Remelyn R. Recoter, Region 11 director of the Department of Agriculture, said the national government is releasing P7.68 million to increase the land planted to durian in the Davao Region from 6,000 to 10,000 hectares and increase production to 100,000 metric tons by 2017.

Source: bworldonline.com



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