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Durian growers ready for China GAP certification

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DAVAO CITY — Durian growers in the Davao Region, including small-scale farmers, are ready for Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) certification that will be required by China for exports.

Emmanuel S. Belviz, president of the Davao City Durian Industry Council (DCDIC), said they were ready as early as April when representatives from the China Inspection and Quarantine were scheduled to visit.

“Before the COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) pandemic, nagkaroon kami ng (we held) training with some durian farmers and members of the durian council on the importance of making their farms GAP-certified,” Mr. Belviz said in an interview last week.

The farm visit was moved to August but again postponed to next year due to travel restrictions imposed by the Philippines.

Mr. Belviz said China’s agriculture attaché has confirmed that the visit will take place in 2021.

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DCDIC has around 50 members, including backyard farmers cultivating at least 10 durian trees, located mostly in Davao City.

Small farmers can generate around seven tons per hectare while big farms yield up to 20 tons per hectare.

Mr. Belviz said the harvest this season is expected to be good, with the peak in mid- to late-September.

The group, in coordination with the Department of Agriculture regional office, has tapped a freight forwarding firm for the distribution of durian to major cities in the Philippines.

Beyond the MinDA Tienda sa Manila event on Sept. 20-26, where the fruit will be among the Mindanao products on showcase, Mr. Belviz said the association is working out a plan to expand it into a “Durian Caravan.”

The caravan will involve cargo trucks that will travel from Mindanao to Manila, making stops at trading posts to unload fruit. — Maya M. Padillo

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