THE Department of Agriculture has said that it aims to export at least 54,000 tons of “premium” fresh durian fruits to China this year.
“Stakeholders are now beefing up their production to meet the high demands entailed by the agreement,” the department said, referring to a fruit export deal secured by Philippine President Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos during his visit to China in January.
The department said Davao City-based Eng Seng Food Products and Belviz Farms are two private durian growers preparing for the push.
“China is the biggest durian market, so we are very excited and looking forward to exporting durian there.
“Our target is to export (shipping) containers of durian weekly,” Eng Seng Food Products CEO John Tan said.
According to the agriculture department, the preferred durian varieties for export include Puyat, Duyaya and D101 because of their golden flesh and pleasant taste.
“I think the Philippines has a huge potential in the export market, especially with our varieties like the Puyat and the Duyaya varieties, which have big potential,” Durian Industry Association of Davao City (DIADC) President and Belviz Farms owner Emmanuel Belviz said.
Belviz said his association works closely with the government, particularly the Department of Agriculture, to prepare the required documents and protocols.
He added the association is also helping the government assist other industry players – especially backyard farmers – in improving their production and complying with export requirements.
“This is both a blessing and a challenge. A blessing because we already have a market at a good price. There is a challenge because we need to produce better durian fruits and meet the food safety requirements as an export market,” Belviz said.
The Department of Agriculture Regional Field Office in the Davao region in southern Philippines and local government units are active partners of the producers.
The department also provided the association with harvesting vehicles, reefer vans and other tools and equipment.
The regional office identifies expansion areas for durian production and encourages more farmers to be certified as Philippine Good Agricultural Practices and produce more durian for export.
“Plant more durian because the demand for durian is vast, especially with the opening of the Chinese market,” Belviz said, predicting that durian “will be one of the country’s top export products in the next five years.” — Xinhua