PNA file photo

MANILA – The Department of Agriculture (DA) said on Wednesday it is gearing up to ensure the production of high-quality durians for its US$2.09-billion “durian protocol” deal with China.

In a statement, the DA said it needed to intensify actions with various stakeholders to achieve sustainable Grade A durian production for Chinese importers after President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s three-day state visit to China.

“The administration of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. is committed to implementing strategies to ensure high-quality fruits for export, including durian, which is subject of an export deal with China amounting to $2 billion,” it said.

Primary production sources of high-quality durians include Davao City and the provinces of Davao del Sur and North Cotabato.

However, the DA said it targets expansion to strengthen durian export capacity and open opportunities for more producers.

“The bilateral venture between the Philippines and China is seen to generate at least 10,000 direct and indirect jobs,” it said.

“Potential areas for expansion will be identified by the DA to sustain the durian export,” it added.

To date, there are five licensed exporters, six licensed packing facility operators and 65 registered durian growers in the Davao Region.

Alongside expansion is training for officials, inspectors and other stakeholders to improve technical know-how on the production of fresh durian.

This also includes training on the proper management of pests and diseases.

For the first year of the durian protocol, over PHP8.24 billion worth of fresh durian exports are expected.

“China will be importing more than 5.7-million kilograms of fresh durian per season,” the DA said.

So far, five big Chinese corporations and groups have made purchase commitments for the year.

The Chief Executive earlier said the durian protocol will help "regress" the trade imbalance between the Philippines and China.

According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, the country's trade gap with China reached US$15 billion as of 2021. (PNA)