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Without Kadayawan festivities, Durian growers forced to sell products elsewhere

Former Davao City Durian Council president Candelario Miculob 

With the usual high-market Kadayawan festivities out of the way, some durian growers in Davao City are taking their durian harvests elsewhere. 

This is the scenario afterMayor Sara Duterte-Carpio announced that this year’s Kadawayan celebration will be highlighted only with a Thanksgiving Mass and a flag ceremony.

The watered down celebration will be attended by the city’s deputy mayors to maintain health protocols of social distancing as well as implement the no mass gathering policy amid Covid-19 pandemic. 

Kadayawan is a thanksgiving for bountiful harvest and unlimited durian in the city at low prices and different varieties is the prominent crowd drawer of the festival.

Candelario “Larry” Miculob, former president of Davao City Durian Industry Council (DCDIC), said some growers opted to take the risk of exploring other areas to sell durian because they are concerned that the fruits might just rot. 

“Uban mo take the risk na lang. Pero given nga istrikto ang quarantine usab sa uban lugar basin mangabulok lang ang frutas,” he said. 

Miculob said even durian fruits are abundant this month, durian growers are still facing challenges such as difficulty in moving the products due to lockdowns and quarantine protocols implemented.

“Actually, dako ni nga problema sa fruit industry. Lisod i-move ang prutas karon,” he said.

Miculob also cited limited flights of airlines and mass gathering as challenges face by durian growers in Davao City. 

Miculob said durian growers in Davao City are now looking forward for the accreditation of Philippine durian to China. He said their hope now is to export durian. 

“Hope na lang nga madayon ug mapa-dali ang pag accredit sa Philippine durian sa China para maka export. Ang pag-asa nato ang gawas (export),” he said. 

Presently, durian is not yet allowed to be exported to China based on that country’s specifications. 

Durian growers are hopeful that a bilateral trade deal between the Philippines and China will include fruit such as durian is approved under President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration.

Miculob said the bilateral trade agreement with China will help attract foreign investors to put up processing plants here.

A vendor sells durian fruit from his multi-cab vehicle in Central Park Subdivision, Bangkal, Davao City over the weekend. Durian growers in Davao City are planning to sell some of their harvest to nearby provinces after the city government of Davao announced that there will be no grand Kadayawan sa Davao celebration this year due to the pandemic. Edge Davao

Durian growers and exporters have been finding ways to meet Chinese demand for frozen durian after Chinese traders were in town in May 2018 and wanted more frozen durian than what was available.

He said that Chinese traders did not set a limit for the quantity. 

“Dako kaayo ang ila volume requirement. Kita ra ang giagad kutob sa kaya nato. The only problem is we have limited processing capacity. The Chinese wants frozen durian… it is easier to export and it is also advantageous for us,” he said. 

Miculob said Chinese Inspection and Quarantine supposedly will conduct inspection in March this year, however, was not materialized due to the pandemic.