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China inspectors clear way for imports of Philippine durian

PHILSTAR FILE PHOTO

AN inspection team from China has given the green light for imports of Philippine durian starting this year, China’s ambassador said.

“Fresh durian from the Philippines will soon be available in the Chinese market,” Ambassador Huang Xilian said in a Facebook post on Wednesday. “It is expected that fresh durian from Davao will be permitted for import into China as soon as this year.”

The team went to Davao region for a market access investigation, conducting a risk assessment after inspecting orchards, packaging plants, pest monitoring operations, chemical controls, coronavirus disease 2019 prevention methods, and determining the traceability of produce.

China, a leading durian importer, shipped in 822,000 tons of durian worth $4.21 billion in 2021, up 82.4%. In the first half of 2022, China’s durian imports increased by a further 60%, making it the Chinese market’s most imported fruit.

“Durian from the Davao region is high in quality and good in taste. It is expected to win the hearts of Chinese durian lovers,” Mr. Huang said.

“As one of the most lucrative agricultural products, the entry of high-quality fresh durian from the Philippines into China with a population of 1.4 billion will benefit hundreds of thousands of Philippine fruit farmers and greatly increase the income of local growers in the Mindanao area,” he added.

Last month, Davao City’s agriculture office had to source durian from neighboring provinces to augment supply for the expected influx of tourists for the Kadayawan festival.

Edgardo A. Haspe, head of the city agriculturist’s office, attributed the shortage to unusual weather patterns which affected the fruit-bearing cycle.

He said that the harvest of durian in Davao City was 15,485 MT in 2019 and over 17,000 MT in 2020. It fell to 12,930 MT in 2021.

In the first half, the harvest was only 3,000 MT.

Land planted to durian rose to 3,389 hectares last year, from a base of 3,222 hectares in 2019.

In 2020, China was the Philippines’ top trading partner — the third-biggest export market and top source of imports, according to the Department of Trade and Industry. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan

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