Traders see $150-M durian exports to China on first year

Local traders engaged in fruit exports, particularly durian, forecast that durian exports to China could reach $150 million (P8.24 billion) on the first year from the signing of the agreement.

This was shared by the Durian Industry Association of Davao City (DIADC) led by President Emmanuel Belviz and by Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce & Industry, Inc. (FFCCCII) President Dr. Henry Lim Bon Liong at the Pandesal Forum in Quezon City.

Both officials lauded the success of President Bongbong Marcos’ “Durian diplomacy” with China in his state visit and the opening of the lucrative, huge China market for Philippine durian fruit exports.

The agreement for the export of durian fruits, which are grown in Mindanao, was signed in front of President Marcos and China President Xi Jinping in Beijing on January 4.

“The first year exports of Philippine durian is forecast to be $150 million or P8.24 billion pesos, but the demand is higher,” said Lim.

Belviz said that the export of durian, a nutritious and delicious “king of tropical fruits”, will definitely uplift the lives of Mindanao rural farmers and boost Davao region’s tourism industry.

As part of its advocacy to support Mindanao fruit growers, Lim said the FFCCCII invited the durian farmers to promote Durian.

Lim noted that Thailand exports $4 billion or P220 billion of durian to China annually.

Hence, he urged the Philippines to target even half that huge volume or P110 billion in Philippine durian exports to China.

“We the Philippines should export more to China, attract more of their affluent Chinese tourists, we need to compete with our Asean and Asian neighbors for the vast China market,” Lima added.

Vietnam and Cambodia are also exporting fresh durian to China. Cambodia is also exporting frozen durian. “Now, it is the Philippines’ turn to export durian to China also,” Lim said.

Durian is a fruit with high economic potential. In 2021, the Philippines exported its first frozen durian to Australia. “There’s a big market for it because it is highly nutritious with high protein, carbohydrates and vitamins,” he added.

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) cited the Davao region as the top producer of durian in the country, as well as BARMM and SOCCSKARGEN. “With our rich soil, maybe we could also explore other regions to plant durian,” he said.

With these developments, Lim expressed hope that the Department of Agriculture and the DOST-Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (DOST-PCAARRD) will train durian plantation owners and packaging factories to study Chinese food standards and also train the farmers on planting techniques.

Durian farmers also appealed for government support in terms of sourcing affordable fertilizers as costs have increased from P1,000 per 50-kilogram bag to now P4,000 per bag. They also request assistance for efficient processing of export documents and better packaging, lower air transport costs and more flights, and they urged more farmers to plant high value agriculture products like durian and other tropical fruits.