THE Durian Industry Council of Davao City (DICDC) said on Wednesday, August 10 that the sector wants to increase durian production due to the rising demand for fruit from local and foreign investors.

DICDC president Larry Miculob said production of durian has dropped by 40 percent to the inconsistent weather pattern affecting the harvest.

He added that the current low supply of durian is also due to Chinese durian processors buying most of the supply of the fruit.

Miculob said the existing 3,000 hectares of durian trees in the city are not enough to meet the demands of foreign investors and processors.

“Before naenganyo ta mag tanom og durian tungod nagasulod ang mga investors na mamalit og durian. Karon naa na uban processing facilities nag ilugay og supply (Before we planted more durian trees because investors are coming in to buy. Now, they are scrambling for it),” Miculob said during a press conference.

He mentioned that the major processors can source 200 tons of durian daily from the bulk supply they buy from Davao growers.

Because of this, Miculob said some growers and consolidators are more inclined to sell their harvest directly to the Chinese processors rather than selling it on the streets, leaving a limited amount for local vendors to sell.

‘“Ma-notice nato wala kaayo naga display tungod kay mas prefer karon sa mga consolidators mgakomprador na mu-deliver sa planta kaysa mahago sila mag display sa kalsada (We would notice there are not much durian displayed for sale because consolidators and harvesters prefer delivering it to the processors rather than selling it on the streets),” he said, but he assures they plan to develop the industry to serve both local and foreign market.

Thus, Miculob said they are looking into the possibility of developing abandoned banana farms, using ancestral lands or domains if possible, and inviting cooperatives to turn to durian production.

“These are ideas we want to elaborate further. Kaming mga processors, willing mi mag excute og marketing agreement na duna’y mag palit sa ilang produkto (As processors, we are willing to execute a marketing agreement to ensure the growers will have buyers for their durian),” he said.

In turn, increasing the production will provide various opportunities to the farmers, suppliers, seedling growers and providers, and other suppliers in the industry. In the long run, it will also garner more earnings from durian exports.

Miculob said Davao does not have a direct export line of durian to China yet but mentioned that they are working on establishing direct trade.

“Naa ta inspection sa (We have an inspection with the) Chinese government next week, so that we may be allowed to export directly to China,” he said.

In the meantime, buyers and growers will have to endure the shortage and steep prices.

“Sakripisyo gyod karon kay tungod sa competition, even ang bahin sa mga processors, taas na kaayo (We have to sacrifice in the mean time since because of the competition, even the processors are buying the supply in high prices).”

Miculob assures that they will develop the durian sector as a whole and just focus on exportation since he also mentioned that the durian market is expanding outside of Davao and into other parts of the Philippines as well, particularly Luzon. ICM