THE Mindanao Development Authority (Minda) is planning to expand its fruit festival activity in other areas after the successful staging of its first event in Baguio City on August 24 to 25.

Among the areas where they plan to expand similar activity are in Manila, Cebu, Iloilo, Pangasinan, Nueva Ecija, Bicol, and Cagayan Valley.

In order to assess the volume and logistics, the agency will be assessing and evaluating the financing, logistical and infrastructure requirements of Mindanao fruit growers producing durian, mangosteen, rambutan, pineapple, lakatan banana, passion fruit, sweet water or aromatic coconut, and guyabano. Thus, a meeting with fruit farmers across Mindanao was held yesterday, August 26, at the Minda office Old Airport, Davao City.

“[Identified fruit farmers who will supply fruits in other areas for expansion of fruit festival] will depend on the outcome of the meeting. Secretary Piñol wants to assess the volume of fruits and get accurate data of fruits produced to ensure sustainability,” Minda public relations head Adrian Tamayo said in an online interview Monday, August 26.

He added that it will be better if there will be more fruit suppliers to increase the volume to be traded since after the first Minda fruit festival in Baguio City, they have witnessed how the consumers “wiped out 20-tons of fruits in just 3 hours and demanded for more”.

“Mas maraming fruit supplier, the better para mas malaki ang volume to be traded. That way, all sides will benefit: consumers will enjoy fruits at reasonable price and fruit farmers with new and bigger markets,” he said.

Meanwhile, the agency also met yesterday with the airline companies serving Davao-Manila, Davao-Clark, Davao-Cebu, Davao-Iloilo routes for cargo allocation and special price for shipment of Mindanao fruits. Around 15 metric tons of fruits were air-transported to Baguio City last time using two Philippine Airforce planes C-130 and C295.

During the arrival of the fruits along the Session Road in Baguio City, Piñol said locals and tourists immediately lined up, there were even coming from as far as Cagayan Valley, Ilocos Norte, and Pangasinan

“It was a delightful scene as the buyers patiently waited in line, some of them arriving as early as 5 a.m. to be able to buy durian, mangosteen, rambutan, marang, lanzones and pomelo,” he said.

Another batch of fruits will be shipped to the city on September 1 and Piñol assured that there will be an increase of volume due to high demand.