Durian shortage may happen in Southern Mindanao in next two years
DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Southern Mindanao could face a shortage in durian supply within the next two years as the climate gets warmer and with many planters converting their fields into cacao and other high value crops.
This would also mean higher durian prices, unlike in the past when a kilogram of durian hit as low as P20.
Candelario Miculob, president of the Durian Industry Council of Davao City (DICDC), has reported a steady decline in the volume of durian harvest in the region, which is made up of the four Davao provinces, Compostela Valley and this city.
Citing a report from the Philippine Statistics Authority, Miculob said that in 2013, durian production in the region dropped to 70,064 metric tons from the previous year’s because farms were ravaged by Typhoon Pablo.
Instead of replanting to replace damaged trees, many durian farmers shifted to production of other high-value crops, he said.
The reason for this, Miculob said, was that farmers could start harvesting cacao in three years while durian trees would only start to bear fruit five years after planting.
Southern Mindanao was previously typhoon-free but climate change has made that a thing of the past, Miculob said.
Also, climate change – which has made the weather unpredictable, bringing a longer dry season – has further reduced durian production.
In 2014, Miculob said the region’s durian production further declined to 62,769 metric tons as the region experienced longer dry spell. This year, the DICDC expected the harvest to further decline by 25 percent based on the 2014 figure.
He said while the supply got tight, driving domestic price to a high of P45 per kilogram, farmers also started exporting their products to others countries, which have also been experiencing shortage in durian supply.
“Malaysia and Thailand are already experiencing shortages of durian and most of them buy from Davao through the backdoor so it is not officially monitored,” he said.
Miculob said Davao’s durian harvest was also being exported to Singapore, Japan and Hong Kong, and some farmers would like to develop the China market.
He said to remedy the situation, the DICDC has started rallying farmers to expand their durian production areas.
Miculob said they would like to raise production by 12 metric tons per hectare to satisfy domestic and international demands.
Currently, there are about 6,000 hectares dedicated to durian in Southern Mindanao – 3,000 hectares of which, are in Davao City alone.
Davao City Councilor Marissa Salvador-Abella said the government should encourage the production of durian, being demand-driven.
She said she has been coordinating with the DCDCI to determine how many more hectares should be developed for durian production to address the projected shortage.
Remelyn Recoter, director for the Department of Agriculture in Southern Mindanao, said the national government has allocated some P7.6 million in support of the efforts to increase the areas planted to durian in Southern Mindanao by at least 4,000 hectares.
Recoter said the expansion by 4,000 hectares could lead to the production of 100,000 metric tons more of durian. Judy Quiros