THE Kadayawan fever is on. As what Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio had put it, with or without Martial Law, the colorful festival has to go on. For 32 years now, it has been a tradition to celebrate it when the month of August comes.

Tourists have started to arrive and city hotels are now booked, especially next week when the festival stage its two major events – the street dancing competition or the Indak-Indak sa Kadalanan that depicts the city’s rich culture and practices and the floral float parade or the Pamulak sa Dabaw that showcases the city’s flowers in bloom.

There is also no turning back for various exciting events, be it held on the streets of the city and posh hotels, organized by festival partners.

Once again, all eyes are on the city, the hometown of President Rodrigo Duterte, which he led for more than three decades.

But there’s one that appeared to be lacking. The very essence of the celebration, which is “bountiful harvest” seems not being experienced or felt. The excitement, as what many have said, isn’t 100 percent.

It’s less than two weeks before the festival comes to its conclusion, but the fruits synonymous to it are nowhere to be found. If you could see some, its price isn’t that reasonable, not friendly or what guests put it: They’re “presyong Manila.”

During this time in the past years, city’s guests and Dabawenyos, as well, had already been feasting on the fruits of Kadayawan that make the festival so popular not only in Mindanao but in the entire country, like durian, mangosteen, lanzones, marang, rambutan and mango that flooded the streets of the city.

Today, fruit vendors in the city have been complaining of a very low production that is reaching the local market. Because of this, their suppliers are giving them higher prices which also prompted them to increase their selling prices.

Even government figures can confirm this. In fact measures have been adopted in a bid to revitalize the continuous decline of fruit production.

For instance, the Department of Agriculture noted that the production of the Philippine mango, considered as the best in the world, has plummeted from over 1.5-million metric tons in previous years to only a little over 800,000-metric tons last year.

Based on the data released by Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI), from 5.35 metric tons per hectare yield in 2006, mango production dropped to 4.33 metric tons per hectare yield in 2016.

“I want to address this problem because we have taken for granted the God-given gift which is the Philippine mango,” said DA Secretary Emmanuel Piñol, who met with mango farmers in Davao Region.

He proposed to identify a model farm in every province which would serve as a learning center for modern farming techniques. The agency is now crafting a five-year roadmap for the Philippine Mango Development that will quickly address the needs of the industry and save the mango industry.

For the so-called King of Fruits durian, low production is also noted triggering an increase in the selling price from P200 to P250 per kilo in the local market. This is quite very high as compared to a maximum price of P60 a kilo in the past Kadayawan season.

Based on the data released by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), last year’s durian production in the entire Davao Region was placed at 53,805.71 metric tons, about 69 percent of which was produced by Davao City or some 37,181.04 metric tons. This year, durian vendors at Magsaysay Fruit Stand said they have noticed a big difference in production as compared to the same period last year.

“This might be because of the recurring change in the weather. I am estimating about 30 percent less production,” said Roger Malali, a fruit vendor outside Magsaysay Park. He said he sources his durian from plantations in Calinan District and Toril.

Last year, vendors said they were able to sell about 10 tons of durian for the entire month of August , which they will not be able to surpass this tear even as demand is high.

But even without this usual Kadayawan attraction, Dabaweyos have remained optimistic this year’s staging of the 32nd Kadayawan will be as colorful, exciting and successful as in the past years. So let’s celebrate!