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Exec: Local durian, coffee attracting foreign buyers

Foreign investors are eyeing looking at cashing in on the local production of durian and coffee this year, said John Carlo B. Tria, president of the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Last week during the Wednesdays @ Habi at Kape- Abreeza, Tria pointed out that there have been foreign investors expressing their interest to buy coffee and durian from local producers because of their superior qualities.

Tria said one such market is the US after an American buyer started marketing durian through the Internet. “There are durian lovers who are looking at the Philippines as a source. That would actually encourage more buyers,” he said.

He added that around two weeks ago, they met a group of Filipino-Americans interested in importing durian and they see a bigger market for durian in US not just within Filipino consumers, but also the Americans.

“We just started shipping last year and apparently, what we’re hearing from our durian stakeholders, inquiries for more varieties are coming,” he said even as he believes the our local durian can keep up and compete with other countries by increasing production and marketing.

On coffee, he said, investors have been interested in buying local production and are expected to be in the city in March during a coffee competition.

Last year, the Balukatay Coffee Farmers Association, a group of coffee farmers in Davao del Sur, brought its produce to the US during the Specialty Coffee Expo 2019 in Boston after besting other participants in the Philippine Coffee Quality Competition 2019.

This opened the market for the local coffee producers as Tria said that coffee production is steadily rising to meet the demands of the market even as the country has continued to be “a net importer” of coffee beans.

Avocado is also seen as a potential export product in US especially the hass variety as last year, members of the business group were informed by Singaporean investors of the possibility of buying from the variety from the local producers.

Cacao, Tria added, has continued to fetch higher demand both for the local market and the foreign markets. “Over the last few years, local farmers have been planting more cacao and coffee, so as the years progress, you see a higher value, higher levels of production to meet that demand,” Tria said.

In order to meet the demands and keep the business growing, “production must ramp up to keep the prices stable,” Tria said.

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