DAVAO CITY — Durian farmers here are gearing up for the first-ever Philippine Asia Durian Summit slated on Oct. 25-27 at SM Lanang Premier’s SMX Convention Center.

Organized by the Durian Industry Association of Davao City (DIADC), the summit is targeting to gather 1,500 delegates composed of durian growers, farmers, traders, consolidators, buyers, and exporters.

“Majority of our durian farmers are backyard farmers… it’s the mindset of the farmers. But slowly we’re trying to help them be more professional, to be more responsible,” said Emmanuel S. Belviz, president of DIADC, as he touted the summit as a venue for farmers, exporters and all other stakeholders to upgrade the industry.

One point he emphasized is that durian farmers should follow the requirements for Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) certification.

Mr. Belviz also revealed that their group had an initial talk with the Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC) in Sydney for the shipping of frozen durian pulp to Australia.

He said it is also the goal of the summit to empower the durian farmers and stakeholders to be globally competitive, to innovate and adopt a common goal in quest for the benefit of the local farmers and the industry as a whole.

The summit has invited six international speakers and experts on durian. It will be highlighted with activities such as plenary sessions, exhibits, an open forum, and field tours.

Carrying the theme “Cultivation, Innovation, Collaboration,” the DIADC was inspired to conduct the summit after the enormous success of the notable sent-off of Philippine durian to the People’s Republic of China last April 6. — Maya M. Padillo