DA allots P15M for mango farmers

Created on Wednesday, 27 March 2013

The Department of Agriculture (DA) has allotted an initial P10 million (M) this year to support the initiatives of a national mango farmers’ group, and provided P5-million worth of farm equipment and inputs during a recent mango congress.

Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala said the P10 M will fund the major projects of the Philippine Mango Industry Foundation, Inc. (PMIFI) that include planting of recommended mango seedlings, provision of postharvest equipment and facilities, marketing assistance, and capacity-building of PMIFI members, particularly provincial mango growers’ associations and cooperatives.

The DA through its High Value Crops Development Program (HVCDP) provided the amount to PMIFI President Virginia de la Fuente, through a memorandum of agreement, signed during the 15th National Mango Congress, March 20, 2013, at the Ramon Magsaysay Technological University Gym in Iba, Zambales.

Formed in 2001, the PMIFI is composed of more than 1,000 farmer-members nationwide, belonging to 15 mango growers’ associations and federations.

During the congress, Secretary Alcala also raffled off to participants P5-million worth of farm equipment and inputs that included 50 power sprayers, 10 knapsack sprayers, 200 bags of flower-inducers, 10,000 mango seedlings, and 10 draft carabao with implements. The DA-HVCDP also provided Zambales farmers with 50,000 mango seedlings.

Secretary Alcala urged mango farmers to consider integrating other income-generating projects with their orchard like apiculture or honey bee production, and raising poultry, goats and sheep. They may also consider transforming their mango farm into an agro-tourism site, particularly during harvest season.

For her part, HVCDP national program coordinator Jennifer Remoquillo said the DA aims to help prop up the country’s mango industry by providing needed interventions to attain major targets under the mango commodity road map, that include increasing production and exports of fresh and processed mangoes by five percent (%) annually, and per capita consumption from 8.5 kilograms (kg) to 11.5 kg.

Last year, the country produced 767,851 metric tons (MT) of mangoes. Of these, $58-million worth of fresh (17,908 MT valued at $14M) and dried (4,855 MT valued at $44M) mangoes were exported to various countries, from January to October 2012, according to NSO foreign trade statistics.

The DA-HVCDP under its four-year road map targets to increase mango production to 955,823 MT this year, and 5% more annually, up to 1.1 million MT by 2016, Remoquillo said.

To further improve the quality of Philippine mangoes for both domestic and export markets, the DA-HVCDP is funding several researches through the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR), which include cultivar development, improvement of peel thickness, color, sweetness, and resistance to pests and diseases like anthracnose and mango seed and pulp weevils.

The three-day 15th national mango congress was attended by more than 500 mango growers and industry stakeholders, local government officials led by Zambales Governor Hermogenes Ebdane, and mango experts and resource persons, who discussed updates on sustainable and profitable mango production, raising ‘organic’ mangoes, and trends in post harvest technologies, processing and marketing. (Catherine N. Nanta, DA-AFIS)