AFTER the signed agreement to export fresh durian from the Philippines to China, the Department of Agriculture in the Davao Region (DA-Davao) will prioritize helping farmers achieve accreditation for their durian farms.

Regional director Abel Monteagudo said on January 24, at least 62 farms are accredited so far, based on the data of DA-Davao, but they aim to accredit more since China wants accredited farms as their suppliers to ensure good agricultural practices and high-quality durian.

"(The farmers) have requested us for assistance so that all these farms will be accredited. So that their produce (will be) recognized as the standard... Kung wala iyon, baka hindi sila masali mag supply (If they are not accredited, they might not be allowed to supply),” the regional director said.

The department has proposed a budget of P350 million and if approved, it will be used for the procurement of planting materials, training, and other inputs to be provided to the farmers in the span of five years.

Other than the accreditation, DA-Davao is also working on the expansion of durian farms in the Davao Region and Davao City to meet the expected 54,000 metric tons or 540,000 kilograms volume of durian to be exported.

"If we can utilize the unutilized areas... it can generate funds for farmers and revenue for the country because it's an export commodity," Monteagudo said.

In 2021, Davao Region produced 57,283.87 metric tons based on the data of the Philippine Statistics Authority.

Monteagudo said the majority of the durian to be exported will come from Davao Region, particularly Davao City, since it is among the major durian producers in the country.

However, other Mindanao regions are expected to contribute as well, like Zamboanga Peninsula, Northern Mindanao, and Soccsksargen.

Based on the agreement of China and the Philippines, only the Puyat variety of durian will be shipped to China. Monteagudo said the Chinese inspected and approved the Puyat variety which is resilient in nature and has a sweeter taste when it ripens. ICM