Davao fruit growers want price cut on inputs

Subscribe Now September 09, 2010 at 11:26pm

Fruit growers in Mindanao are calling on the government to find ways to reduce prices of agrochemicals by crafting a law similar to the Generics Act.

Antonio B. Partoza Jr., president of the Mindanao Fruit Industry Council, said fruit growers, other than those into banana production, are finding it hard to compete in the global market because of high prices of inputs.

Mr. Partoza said if prices of agrochemicals were reduced by 20%, it could mean bigger profit for fruit growers. "We hope that this year we will succeed (in asking the government to find ways in pulling down prices of inputs)," he said, pointing out that the issue will among the points discussed at the 7th Mindanao Fruit Industry Conference on Sept. 23-24 in Tagum City, Davao del Norte.

Several years ago, Mr. Partoza claimed prices of agrochemicals sold in the local market were 200% higher compared to those sold in Thailand, a major tropical fruit exporter.

This developed as durian producers projected that this year’s harvest will be more than double of last year’s harvest due basically to the long drought experienced during the first quarter.

Candelario B. Miculob, a trustee of the council, said the city alone has been absorbing about 25 metric tons of durian a day since August. Because of the glut in production, retail prices of durian have dipped to P20 a kilogram from a high of P70 a kilogram during the start of the year.

Mr. Miculob estimated the city’s production last year was about 200 metric tons.

"This early, we are confident that production can hit 500 metric tons," he said, pointing out that harvest will last even until the last quarter of the year.

Because of this, local producers have been exploring outside markets such as Metro Manila and Metro Cebu by holding durian festivals.

These events were started three years ago in an effort to promote the fruit to potential consumers.

Mr. Miculob said their efforts have started paying off as he ships about a ton of durian to Metro Manila on a weekly basis. -- Carmelito Q. Francisco

Source: bworldonline.com

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