There’s nothing like having friends who are hands-on growers of their favorite fruit trees. Such persons know the realities in growing, harvesting, postharvest handling, processing and marketing their products.
When it comes to the business of producing durian for the local market as well as for export, one fellow who is very knowledgeable is Larry Miculob who has a durian plantation in Calinan, Davao City.
Another fellow is Emmanuel Belviz, Nhel to his friends. He and his wife Mary Grace grow durian and process the fruits into various value-added products. Of course they also market the fresh fruits. Their durian farm is also in Calinan.
Back to Larry. What is good about him is that he is constantly monitoring the developments in the export market. He knows the strong points as well as the weak points of Philippine durian, especially in major markets like China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Korea.
The strong point is that the peak durian harvest in the Philippines is August to October. This is the time when the harvests in Thailand and Malaysia are over. So there is a market for Philippine durian. The problem is that the buyers abroad consider Philippine durian as inferior to those of Thailand and Malaysia so that they offer a cheaper price. The answer to that would be to export only good quality fruits from the Philippines.
Larry suggests that plantations planted to quality varieties like Puyat and Duyaya should be encouraged. Credit with low interest should be provided by government lending institutions like the Land Bank. The cost of inputs like fertilizers and pesticides should be made more affordable.
Why do the foreign buyers look down on Philippine durian? According to Larry, there are unscrupulous traders in Davao who buy the cheap durian in the market and then ship them to the buyers abroad. This should be discouraged.
On to Nhel Belviz and his wife Mary Grace. Nhel’s father, Severino Belviz, was a pioneer in growing durian and pomelo in Davao. When he passed away the other year, the couple had to take over operation of the farm. Even while the elder Belviz was still alive, they have been making processed durian products like jam, ice cream, dried durian, candies and others.
The Belviz farm is also proud of its prize-winning variety, the Duyaya durian, which was developed by the late Severino Belviz from a seed he got from Thailand which he grew in his farm. This is a very fleshy variety that is sweet and creamy. The Belviz couple are very nice and you would really be happy to be their friend.