THE prices of durian have remained stable but the industry is foreseeing a looming 40 percent drop in sales as the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) is showing no sign of easing down soon.
Durian Industry Association of Davao City (DIADC) secretary Manuel Villanueva said retail prices of durian is at P60 to P70 per kilogram (kg) in downtown Davao while in Toril and Calinan, a kilo of durian is at P45 to P55.
According to City Agriculture's Office (CAO) durian council in charge Lorna Alderite, there some durians priced at P50 per kg.
He said the supply is still limited since it is not yet the season of the fruit. However, the durian farmers are expecting it to surge as Kadayawan nears.
"We expect good production and harvest for Kadayawan. Namulak na ang mga durian for the July to October season (The durian trees already have blooms for the July and October season)," he said.
Villanueva said their fruits are already booked by foreign buyers.
"China ang biggest buyer followed by South Korea. Dili kaayo ko kasiguro sa volume but maybe 60 percent of the good quality, export market sya (I cannot determine the volume yet but maybe around 60 percent of the good quality are exported)," he said.
But he said the small farmers would likely suffer from the decline in the local demand due to the implementation of community quarantine in the city.
"Limited ang opportunity sa mga small vendors. Dili makabaligya ambulant vendors due to quarantine. Ang buyers limited pud tungod sa Covid-19 crisis (Small, ambulant vendors cannot sell and there will only be fewer customers because of the quarantine being imposed in the city)," he said.
"Kung mag persist pa Covid-19 until July, lisod jud ta sa export due to transport limitation (The exportation of our durian will be challenging if the Covid-19 crisis continues until July)," he added.
This would cause their income to fall by about 40 percent as they also expect a drop in prices.
"The losses will be a burden to the growers or farmers," he said.
Villanueva explained that a durian farmer earns an average of P2,500 per mature tree during its season especially if the farmer follows good agricultural practices (GAP).
But he said the durian farmers are optimistic that the health crisis would mellow down soon.
"As a whole, taas pa ghapon ang expectation sa mga farmers. Malampasan gihapon nato ni with God's help (The farmers are still optimistic that we will get through this). Let's pray that this Covid-19 crisis will be over soon, para makabawi na pud ang durian industry (so the durian industry can recover)," he said.