DAVAO CITY, Philippines – The Davao Region has exported the first batch of durian to China, a development that was seen by officials as the beginning of a brighter future for many farmers in the region.
Some 28 tons of durian were exported to China via the Davao International Airport on Thursday, April 6, a historic first for Southern Mindanao. These came from durian producers and processors in the Davao region who have passed the requirements set by the General Administration Customs of China (GACC).
The move was prompted by the growing demand in the export market and the bilateral agreement between the Philippines and China, marking a milestone for the region’s durian industry as it opened up new markets and opportunities for farmers.
The export followed the signing of the Protocol of the Phytosanitary requirements for the export of fresh durian from the Philippines to China last January 4.
Officials said the region’s durian industry was poised for growth, and this month’s first export to China was only the beginning.
The Davao-based Eng Seng Food Products alone has set its sights on exporting 300 to 500 container vans of durian for 2023. It has already secured a Good Manufacturing Practices and Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point certification.
“May this be the start of Davao durian being sold in China. The bottom line is better pricing of durian that would be enjoyed by farmers and result in better lives,” said Abel James Monteagudo, the director of the Department of Agriculture (DA) in the Davao region.
Monteagudo said Calinan District in Davao City is the top source of durian in the entire country.
Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian expressed his excitement and said he was looking forward to more high-quality durian being enjoyed by the Chinese.
The Chinese-preferred duran varieties include puyat, duyaya, and D101 because of their yellow-golden flesh and taste.
The GACC has approved five packaging facilities and 58 durian farms which are expected to generate US$260 million or P14.3 billion in revenues for the Davao region’s durian industry this year alone.
The agriculture department, along with the Bureau of Plant Industry, has taken the lead in preparing durian growers and processors to comply with the protocol requirements and accreditation.
Emmanuel Belviz, the president of the Durian Industry Association of Davao City, said the agreement provided a new market and higher prices for their harvests that could benefit durian farmers.
But he said the producers would need to secure Good Agricultural Practice certificates first to take part in the export market because “good quality durian starts at the farms.”
The DA in the Davao region has come up with a five-year plan for the durian industry to intensify technical support and provide quality planning, materials, fertilizer, pesticide, equipment and tools, and establishment of post-harvest facilities. (originally posted on rappler.com)
Lucelle Bonzo is an Aries Rufo Journalism fellow.China, davao region, durian