MANILA – The Philippines is poised to ship an initial 7,500 metric tons of durian to China in March, Malacañang announced on Thursday.
The scheduled shipment of durian to China was reported to President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. by the Department of Agriculture – Bureau of Plant Industry (DA-BPI) in a meeting at Malacañan Palace, Presidential Communications Office (PCO) Secretary Cheloy Garafil said in a statement.
“In its (DA-PBM) presentation, the agency said there is an initial volume of 7,500 metric tons of durians ready to be sent to the Asian country, which will be sourced from 59 different farmers or producers covering some 400 hectares of production area,” Garafil said.
To recall, Marcos’ state visit to China in January led to the signing of USD2-billion fruit export deal between Manila and Beijing to step up imports of high-value Philippine agricultural products.
On Jan. 4, the DA and China’s General Administration of Customs signed the Protocol of the Phytosanitary Requirements for Export of Fresh Durians from the Philippines to China.
The agreement is expected to open up the Chinese market for an estimated 50,000 metric tons of fresh durian.
The DA earlier announced that the durian will be initially exported from the roster of registered farms in major durian production areas in Davao City and the provinces of Davao del Sur and North Cotabato.
The Davao region covers around 78 percent of the total durian production in the country.
At least four Chinese firms, including the Dole (Shanghai) Fruits and Vegetables Trading Co., Ltd./Dole China, Prestige International Co. Ltd., Shanghai Goodfarmer Group, and the Dashang Group, have made purchase commitments worth USD260 million for 2023, based on the DA report.
The DA noted that the exportation of durian is expected to generate at least 10,000 direct and indirect jobs.
Chinese nationals have a strong appetite for durian.
In 2021, total durian imports from Thailand amounted to USD4 billion, more than triple the total Philippine agricultural exports to China in the same period.
The USD2-billion fruit export deal secured by the Marcos administration also covers coconut and bananas, among others.
Fresh fruits, including Cavendish bananas, have been the top drivers for Philippine agricultural exports to China.
In a roundtable discussion with Chinese chief executive officers (CEOs) in Beijing last month, Marcos touted the vast potential of the agriculture sector, which is seen “at the forefront” of the post-pandemic economic recovery strategy.
Marcos also assured Chinese business leaders that durian growers, represented in the meeting by the Davao Durian Industry Association, “have long waited for this opportunity and are ready to meet the demands of the Chinese market.”