PHILIPPINES: Durian faces threat from climate change, new crops


by Judy Quiros, Philippine Daily Inquirer

 

Climate change and a shift in preferred crops are threatening to reduce the supply of durian and lead to a shortage in supply of the world-famous pungent fruit in Southern Mindanao, a region known for durian production.

 

Candelario Miculob, head of the Durian Industry Council of Davao City (DICDC), said there has been a steady decline in the volume of durian harvest in the region, which is made up of the four Davao provinces, Compostela Valley and this city, during recent years.

 

Citing a report from the Philippine Statistics Authority, Miculob said in 2013, durian production in the region dropped to 70,064 metric tons because farms were destroyed by Typhoon “Pablo.”

 

Instead of replacing damaged durian trees, many farmers shifted to production of other high-value crops, he said.

 

One of these crops, he added, is cacao which could be harvested three years after planting compared to durian’s five years.
Miculob said climate change is part of the reason for the decline in durian production.

 

Southern Mindanao had been typhoon-free in the past but climate change has made it a thing of the past, Miculob said.

 

Young durian trees need an annual rainfall of 1,500 millimeters because its root system is very shallow. Supplementary irrigation might even be needed as the plant grows.

 

Mature trees, however, normally produce flowers during the dry months. About four weeks after the flowers bloom, durian trees must receive the right amount of water for proper fruit development because too much water will disrupt the flowering stage.

 

Climate change, Miculob said, has made it difficult to determine the dry and wet months.

 

In 2014, Miculob said the region’s durian production declined further to 62,769 metric tons. This year, DICDC expects harvest to further decline by 25 percent.

 

He said Southern Mindanao’s supply of durian is made tighter by the exportation of durian to other countries which are also suffering from a shortage in durian supply.

 

“Malaysia and Thailand are already experiencing shortages of durian and most of them buy from Davao through the back door so it is not officially monitored,” he said.

 

Miculob said Davao is also exporting durian to Singapore, Japan and Hong Kong, and some farmers want to export to China.

 

The DICDC, he said, is rallying farmers to expand their durian production areas.

 

Miculob said his group wants to raise production by 12 metric tons per hectare to meet domestic and international demand.

 

There are currently 6,000 hectares dedicated to durian production in Southern Mindanao.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer




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