DAVAO City has proven anew its claim as the Asia's fruit basket with the launching of the Asian Fruit Market in Mindanao on Saturday, June 25 at the Fountain Area of Abreeza Ayala Mall.

Davao's bid to be the home of the biggest fruit market in Asia in 10 years is a step closer following the opening of the Asian Fruit Market in the city.

"We are positioning Davao City, and Davao Region as a whole as the main Asian Fruit Market wherein tourists from all over the world can visit Davao and taste the exotic foods and fruits Asia can offer," Roberto Alabado III, Department of Tourism (DOT)-Davao regional director said at the sidelines of the market launching Saturday afternoon.

DOT, the proponent of the project, partnered with Accendo Commercial Corp., owner of the mall to lease for free the area for a year.

The tourism department through its Tourism Infrastructure Enterprise Authority (Tieza) funded the building of the market with designated areas for fresh fruits, processed and value-added products and a common dining and events area to establish a vibrant convergence point for tourists for the whole year run.

Alabado said that visitors and tourists will enjoy a wide array of rich bounty in the region as the market will house "fresh fruits, vegetables, processed-fruit products, fruit-based products, plants and ornamentals and food and beverage services given Davao's rich agricultural resources and proximity to equally productive provinces."

At present, a total of 26 fruit growers, Micro, Small, Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and entrepreneurs had filled the area. Some of the leasing locators are Racoma Chocolate Farm and Agri Products, Farmer, Kahimunan, Lourmon Garden, Green Bounty, and Aloha Organic Garden, among others.

The Asian Fruit Market will be a year-term venue to showcase the agricultural produce of Mindanao. The period of activity will end on June 24, 2017.

"After this, we hope for a more permanent set up for our fruit market by next year," Alabado said adding that the present market will serve as a model for a long-term plan.

The tourism stakeholders here are eyeing Toril to house the expanded and permanent Asian Fruit Market to better serve the Mindanao fruit growers.

According to the project briefer, the market, through the Department of Agriculture, also one of its partners, aims to "encourage the active participation and involvement of the farmers and their communities in the regions of Mindanao and eventually establish one facility intended to be the largest fruit market exchange center in Asia."