THE Department of Agriculture (DA) said it will expand production of export-grade durian after a supply deal was arranged with China.
In a statement, the DA said 65 producers in the south are currently engaged in durian cultivation and hopes to “strengthen the production of Grade-A durian through the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) and the High Value Crops Development Program.”
“The DA has been overseeing the ongoing registration of exporters, packing facility operators, and growers of durian, with five licensed exporters, six licensed packing facility operators, and 65 registered durian growers registered in the Davao Region, to date,” it added.
The DA said it will train quarantine officers, inspectors, and others involved in durian pest and disease control.
The training is focused on meeting Chinese import standards for fresh durian.
The durian trade with China, it said, is expected to generate “at least 10,000 direct and indirect jobs.”
China and the Philippines signed the Protocol of the Phytosanitary Requirements for Export of Fresh Durians from the Philippines to China during President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr.’s recent visit to Beijing.
The deal was valued at $260 million at a volume of 50,000 metric tons of fresh durian.
“Because they are opening their trade to imports of durian and other agricultural products from the Philippines… we can redress the imbalance in our imports and exports from China,” Mr. Marcos has said.
Initially, the durian will be sourced from registered farms in Davao City, Davao del Sur, and North Cotabato, which are the fruit’s major production areas.
The DA will also explore potential sites to expand durian planting in order to sustain export volumes.
Chinese companies that have already purchased durian under the arrangement include Dole (Shanghai) Fruits and Vegetables Trading Co., Ltd./ Dole China and Prestige International Co. Ltd.
Shanghai Goodfarmer Group, and the Dashang Group have also committed to purchase durian. — Sheldeen Joy Talavera