By Prince Golez
The Marcos administration is committed to implementing strategies to ensure high-quality fruits for export, notably durian, which is subject of a US$2-billion export deal with China.
In a news release on Wednesday, the Presidential Communications Office (PCO) said the Department of Agriculture is leading the way in increasing the production of Grade-A durian through its Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) and the High Value Crops Development Program (HVCDP).
The DA has overseen the continued registration of exporters, packing facility operators, and durian farmers in Davao region, with five licensed exporters, six licensed packing facility operators, and 65 registered durian growers registered, according to the DA.
Durian producers and farmer cooperatives have also received financial help and support under the DA’s Enhanced KADIWA Grant.
The DA will also organize a training session on durian pests and diseases for DA-BPI Plant Quarantine officials, inspectors, and other stakeholders. The training will include topics on cultural management to improve technical knowledge, further ensuring the quality of fresh durian for export to Chinese markets.
During his three-day state visit to Beijing, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. was able to secure the signing of the “Protocol of the Phytosanitary Requirements for Export of Fresh Durians from the Philippines to China” on January 4.
The agricultural cooperation between the two countries opens the door to greater trade opportunities, Marcos Jr. said upon his arrival at the Villamor Airbase.
“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,” he also said.
The demand for durian is expected to exceed the US$150 million (P8.24 billion) in exports during the first year of the “Durian Protocol,” with China purchasing more than 5.7 million kilos of fresh durian every season.
Chinese firms like Dole (Shanghai) Fruits and Vegetables Trading Co., Ltd/Dole China, Prestige International Co. Ltd., Shanghai Goodfarmer Group, and the Dashang Group have already committed to purchasing in 2023.
The PCO said the DA will continue to closely work with the General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China to facilitate the virtual audit of additional packing facilities and farms.
The durian will be shipped from an initial list of registered farms in main durian production areas of Davao City, Davao del Sur, and North Cotabato. The DA will identify potential regions for expansion in order to continue durian export.
The bilateral venture between the Philippines and China is expected to produce at least 10,000 direct and indirect jobs.