Sunday, September 27, 2009

Durian time in Davao

Cheap durian has been flooding Davao streets for days. At every turn of the corner, people feast on the sweet, rich-textured fruit as prices plunged down to a dirt-cheap level of P20 to P30 a kilo. Prices used to hover at P80 to P100 a kilo before fresh harvests started coming from the farms about three weeks ago.
“We’re hardly getting any sleep,” says Susan Malayaw, a durian seller in a family rented block of stalls which opens 24 hours on a Rizal street corner. “Customers flock to our stores happy since prices are down, but we’re not earning anything much.”
“We’re earning better when the fruit was scarce,” said Judith VillaAbrille, at the next stall. “Few customers used to come but at least, the price was much higher.”
Even the City Agriculture Office admits to an oversupply. “We wish some people will invest in a big processing plant to absorb the glut in the market,” says Rocelio Tabay, city agriculturist. “It will stabilize prices.”
But whether prices are high or low, customers keep coming. “More people drop by at night, than during daytime,” Malayaw says. “Most people who buy in big boxes are travelers on their way out of Davao or people who spent the whole night in bars and restaurants.”
She expects the deluge of supply to last till November. “When we get tired, we just look for a place to lie down around here to get some sleep.”
In different parts of the city, men are emptying truckload of durians, hurling them onto waiting baskets.
Just a piece of advice to those who can’t stand the smell, though: You might have trouble getting anywhere. The entire city practically reeks of durian.
DURIAN BOY (left) quits school hoping he can save enough money working at a durian factory. A man (above) shows off his display.
SLEEPLESS. Durian seller Susan Malayaw (left) hardly gets enough sleep selling durian for 24 hours in a streetcorner in Davao. She says more people come at night than at daytime.

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