FARM TIPS: From the Mangosteen King of Kidapawan

Dr. Alfredo Villarico in his mangosteen plantation in Kidapawan, North Cotabato.

PIONEER – Dr. Alfredo Villarico of Kidapawan, North Cotabato is the pioneer in planting mangosteen in big scale. He has 33 hectares of full-grown mangosteen trees in Kidapawan and 50 hectares of younger ones in Palawan. He started planting mangosteen in 1981 when he was a 37-year-old medical doctor.

TIP NO.1 – Donโ€™t plant small seedlings in the field. They will be readily choked by the pesky weeds. It is best to plant seedlings that have attained at least two feet tall. Taller, the better. Given the right care, they could start bearing in six years.

TIP NO.2 – If you want high-yielding trees, donโ€™t plant grafted mangosteen. Plant seedlings! Grafted mangosteen trees are usually weak and stunted. The seedling trees, onย  the other hand, grow tall and produce a lot of lateral branches that bear the fruits. The trick, Dr. Villarico said, is to remove the small branches inside the canopy. Fruits are produced at the tip of the lateral branches so there is no need for the small twigs inside. Pruning the inside branches will also result in better ventilation that is beneficial to the trees.

TIP NO.3 – In areas where mangosteen grows well, make sure that mangosteen is your flagship crop. Why? Because it has a long productive life. Dr. Villarico said that he saw an old mangosteen tree in Thailand which was already a century old and was still bearing fruits.

Zac B. Sarian and Dr. Villarico in mangosteen plantation, August 2019.
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