Economy


First batch of durian shipped to Singapore




Posted on September 23, 2013


THE PHILIPPINES made a first durian shipment to Singapore last week, with more fruit exports planned in the near future in the government’s efforts to find more markets for local produce.

Durian importers in Singapore have asked for as much as one ton of durian per day. -- BW File Photo
“We have exported 500 kilos of durian to Singapore... The shipment was made last Sept. 18 and arrived there Thursday,” Leandro H. Gazmin, director of the Agriculture department’s Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Service, told reporters last Friday, at the sidelines of the launch of the agency’s four-day Durian Festival at the Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City.

“This is the first time we’re exporting the fruit there,” Mr. Gazmin noted.

Candelario “Larry” B. Miculob, director of the Mindanao Fruit Industry Development Council, said that the fruit was exported fresh, according to the request of the Singaporean firms.

“They wanted the whole fruit,” Mr. Miculob said.

Mr. Gazmin said that the export deal was made during the International Food Exposition (IFEX) Philippines event held by the government in May.

“Basically, when we were in IFEX, we established the market linkage. The DTI (Department of Trade and Industry) brought the [Singaporean] group here and then the DA (Department of Agriculture) brought them to Davao,” he explained.

“Actually, what the investors wanted was about one ton of durian a day, but we couldn’t commit, as the fruit is highly seasonal. But we agreed to make some trial shipments,” Mr. Gazmin said.

Negotiations are still ongoing for additional shipments, the DA official added.

Asked if current durian production can meet additional export demand, Mr. Miculob said: “Yes. Our annual production stands at about 60,000 metric tons, and we want to raise that to 100,000 metric tons within the next five years.”

The Philippines produced 85,960.88 metric tons of durian in 2012 and 58,068.98 the year before, according to the Web site of the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics.

“Singapore is also looking at dragonfruit,” Mr. Miculob noted.

He also said that Japan also hopes to import durian and other fruits produced mainly in Mindanao.

“While they’re also interested in the durian, one of Japan’s requests is mangosteen. We’re studying that since our production of the fruit is still low,” said Mr. Miculob.

Mr. Gazmin explained that Japan is interested in importing mangosteen and durian for further processing.

“That’s why we’re proposing that we export the fruits packed in blast-frozen form. We’ll have a competitive edge there because that’s easier to handle, and we can preserve the quality of the fruits,” Mr. Gazmin said. -- Bettina Faye V. Roc