Massive devastation of durian trees on Philippines

The Durian Industry Council of the Philippines announced that the El Niño phenomenon  has caused the massive devastation of durian trees in the region causing the popular fruit’s prices to go up.

Larry Miculob, president of the Durian Council said that 60 percent total fruit production was affected by the dry season calling it “deadly to the Durian industry”.
Miculob said 8,000 hectares of land are planted with Durian trees in Davao region, while 3,000 hectares of Durian trees are planted here in the City.

He said out of the 60 percent, 25 to 30 percent of Durian plants died, especially trees planted in the lower areas of the city. He added that the areas where Durian plants died are in lower Calinan, Tugbok district, and in Lubogan area in Toril district.

Durian trees planted in high elevation survived “because of the soil moisture,” said Miculob. “The soil moisture on the high elevation is much higher than in the low land.” Miculob said that the some of the trees affected were “recovered”, with only the branch of the trees affected. He said that even 30 to 40-year old Durian trees did not survive the five months of drought.

Miculob said said that the farmer’s income in the lowland will reduce, while the farmer’s income in higher areas may boost since they can increase the price of Durian. “We really have to re-plant Durian trees,” he said. Miculob said that it will take three to four years to normalize the production.

As of now, Miculob said that Durian costs P80 to P120 per kilo based on the pricing in Magsaysay Park, which is their gauging point. “During off season, Durian’s (price) increased up to P150 to P200 per kilo,” he said.

Miculob said that they discovered Durian and Lanzones as among the fruits that have “weak resistance” to El Niño. Due to the dry season, the inquiry of interested international traders may also be affected, said Miculob. He said that a new buyer from Singapore, who is interested in international trading, plans to buy a kilo of fresh Durian for $3, and $5 for a kilo of Durian meat. He said the buyer targets to do international trading of Durian meat in Canada, United States, and other countries.