This year’s theme for AGRILINK/FOODLINK/AQUALINK is “Improved varieties and Post-harvest: Essential to profitability” and the focal point is Region XI
From May 10 to 12, the Foundation For Resource Linkage & Development, Inc led by Mr. Antonio V. Roces went to Davao City to inspect the city’s crops, particularly its fruits and its postharvest handling.
AGRILINK/FOODLINK/AQUALINK is the country’s largest trade fair on agriculture, food and aquaculture. The expo will showcase the best in livestock, poultry, crops and farm machineries from local and international producers. The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) and the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech) and the Korea Agricultural Machinery Industry Cooperative (KAMICO) will be among the participating exhibitors and co-organizers in the exhibit.
Dr. Helen Pancho, Director III of RTD for Research and Regulations and Press Information staff of the Department of Agriculture Region XI introduced three councils that will focus on production, post-harvest method and marketing of the region’s main crops. These three councils are: the Durian council, Mango council and the Pomelo council. The Durian Council is primarily the main committee, representing the Region XI’s chief crop which is durian. While cacao is not part of the council, it is being groomed as the next main crop with its progressing postharvest production facilities.
Cacao tour for processing
Cacao grows in tropical countries like the Philippines but originated from Central America where historians say was first planted 5000 years ago. Always connected with cocoa, cacao comes from Olmec people from what is now Mexico and believed to be closest pronunciation to the original name of the plant and it is the only word used in any Hispanic languages to describes to what English speakers think of as cocoa. Experts say cocoa is a spelling mistake that was never corrected but it has found to be easier to pronounce. Cacao and cocoa is just the same, they are both referred as a raw vegan and classified to industrial Crop. The matured cacao tress shadows protects the young trees against from direct sunlight and strong wind.
It is seen that local cacao, with its distinct brand, will be able to compete globally. Davao City leaders are actively providing strategic tools that will help the industry to succeed. Mary Grace Belviz and her husband Emmanuel is one of Davao’s cacao producers and processors. Mary Grace is the manager of Rosario’s Delicacies where they use cacao in their products. According to Mary Grace, chocolates has its different kind of characters and profile,”.
Cacao start bearing fruits after 13 months, but is economically viable at 3 yrs, and it can be harvested 4 times a year every 3 months.
Rosario’s Delicacies produces tablea, dark chocolate , Cacao Nibs, Truffles/pralines and cocoa butter. The cocoa butter they used is from the cacao beans produce,. Cacao butter is whitish in color with soft texture and used for making white chocolate. Their processing is of the highest quality standards such as maintaining and not exceeding the standard temperature. Rosario’s delicacies are sold around Metro Davao, Manila and Zamboanga. Aside from the chocolate delicacies , Rosario’s also produced durian products such as Frozen durian,,Jams,candies and durian chips
Rosario’s Delicacies are also showcasing their cacao products in Manila exhibitions like IFEX and for AGRILINK/FOODLINK/AQUALINK where they believe is the best opportunity to present their produce to the international audience.
The Belviz Durian Nursery
The Belviz couple has their own a durian farm where there have three varieties, which was registered to NSIC by the patriarch of the family Mr. Severino Belviz in the early mid 90s namely Duyaya which derived from the Durian itself + biyaya or blessings as they believed this variety blessed their family business), Sulit and Nanam. Duyaya is one of the well-known varieties in Davao aside from Puyat because of its creaminess. They are also selling seedlings and fruits around the metro.
Durian Industry in Region XI
Roces, along with Agrilink project manager Sally Mecija, discussed with the chairman of Durian council about Region XI which is the focus region of this year’s show as well as the details of the show.
Region XI’s planted hectares is about 10,000 but due to typhoon Pablo, it has decreased to 7,000 hectares. Davao City has the biggest area planted to durian around 3,000 hectares, which supply 60 % of the total Philippine production . Region XI has an average of .5 hectares per farmer and produced 6.5 tons per hectare per year. It takes six to seven years for a durian tree to mature, flower and bear fruits. A tree can bear 50 to 60 durian fruits where a farmer can earn P3,000 per tree at P50 per fruit while off season can a farmer earn at P12,500 per tree with 50 fruits at P250 per fruit.
The lifespan of durian tree can reach probably 50 years or more given a good cultural management practice.
Puyat variety of durian is the region’s classic and best-selling product and is already sold for export.
But there are also other varieties according to Larry Miculob, the chairman of the Durian council, such as Arancillo, Canyao, Munthong, , Cob yellow or Chanee, Swarscoff, Cob white, D101, D69, D24, Duyaya, Nanam, Sulit, Durio Graveolens, Red Prawn, Thornless, Umali, UP Gold, Micro History, Alcon Fancy, Basketball and TD cojuanco.
Miculob proudly shares that the industry are able to export the processed durian to China and fresh durian to Singapore through the region’s developed postharvest such by blasting freezing and vacuum packing. The durian’s popularity in the international market was also the take-off point for exporting processed mango, papaya, banana, pineapple, guava and coconut.. And the region continues to receive numerous inquiries on processed fruits.
Freezing is the easiest way of storing the product with the temperature of -18ºC for conventional freezing and vacuum packing.. The more advance technology is through blast freezing at -40 degrees and vacuum packing and storage at -20ºC for large-scale farming or processing.
Brief description of Durian
Durian used to be just a backyard crop but with technology and training, the crop has found its way into commercial production Durian is known with its unique taste, smell and texture. It is processed into delicacies, jams as well as flavoring to sweet desserts such as shakes and ice cream.
It is harvested from August to November—the peak season for durian while the flowers bloom from April to June which is also the peak season of Thailand and Malysia.
Durian comes from the name duri which is a combination term of Malay and Indonesian, means thorns or Tinik in Tagalog. Popularity of Durian is high in Southeast Asia because of the climate; this is considered a tropical fruit. Many people including Filipinos agreed that Durian is the “King of Fruits” and savoring its distinct taste and special creaminess.
The council aims for higher yield of durian production as the current record holder Thailand produces more than 10,000 tons per hectare per year. “We are targeting 8 tons in the next few years, and eventually we can surpass Thailand production because some local farmers can already produce 11,000 tons per hectare per year.. What the industry and farmer need is to plant the recommended variety Puyat and follow the proper cultural management and apply Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), minimize post harvest losses and spoilage by putting up fruit processing facilities .
There is a need to expand the hectarage planted to meet the expanding demand of the fruits at the export market. The Department of Agriculture in Region XI is with the council to support anytime as well as the laboratory of the Department of Science and Technology is ready to render their service for the test to ensure the quality of the processed product before disposing to the market,” says Miculob.
With the cooperation of the farmers as well as the progressing systems of planting, harvesting and marketing, Miculob is confident that they will attain their goal.
See you on October 5 to 7, 2017 for AGRILINK the most influencial Agri-Exhibition in the country