In the Davao Region, durian growers typically harvest up to 48 metric tons each season. There are at least four processing plants in the region that can make frozen packs from the fresh produce. In the middle of the Mindanao durian season, growers are struggling to find a market for their produce. As a result of this, they’ve set their sights on China.
Candelario B. Miculob, former president of the Davao City Durian Industry Council, said: “This is a major challenge in the fruit industry. It’s difficult to transport fruits nowadays.”
While agricultural products are exempt from quarantine restrictions imposed to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, Miculob said they are limited by available land transport services and flights.
The annual Durian Festival, held every August to September alongside the Kadayawan Festival in Davao City, is not happening this year after the local government suspended all major events for the rest of 2020.
Miculob said the industry’s sales dropped after the April and May harvest, when a strict form of lockdown was in place nationwide. The plunge in domestic demand, he said, highlights the industry’s continued push for the government to have durian included in the bilateral trade deal with China — which growers have been calling for since at least 2016.
“We are hoping that the accreditation of Philippine durian to China will materialize soon for us to be able to export to China. Our future is in export,” he said.