PH MANGO PROBLEMS: Discussed At Mango Congress, Cebu City, Oct. 27-28, 2015

PH MANGO PROBLEMS: Discussed At Mango Congress, Cebu City
The Philippine mango industry is facing a lot of problems but there are also bright prospects.
The Philippine mango industry is facing a lot of problems but there are also bright prospects.

The months of April and May 2014 were terrible months for mango growers all over the Philippines. Buyers were paying only P5 per kilo even if the fruits were of good quality. That was true in Northern Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

What was the reason? There was a glut in the market. The mango harvest in Mindanao coincided with the peak season in Pangasinan, Ilocos and other parts of Luzon. Definitely, practically every commercial grower lost money. Even Ricardo Tolentino, the mango king from Ilocos Norte, admitted that he also lost a lot of money in 2014.

VIRGIE DE LA FUENTE AND LINDA BONIAO OF THE DTI.
VIRGIE DE LA FUENTE AND LINDA BONIAO OF THE DTI.
Ricardo Tolentino, Mango King from Ilocos Norte, addressing the Congress.
Ricardo Tolentino, Mango King from Ilocos Norte, addressing the Congress.

When we called him up in March 2015 to find out how the mango industry was doing, he was so happy to tell us that he was doing great. He was selling to exporters his mangoes at P50 to P70 per kilo. And he was making very good profit.
He lamented, however, that many of his fellow mango growers were left out. Many of them did not take care of their trees and induce them to flower. Tolentino surmised that it is possible they did not want to lose money again. One other reason could be that they did not have the funds to induce their trees to bear fruit. He explains that it really takes a lot of money to induce mango trees to flower, especially if you are taking care of hundreds or even thousands of trees.

JUANITA CHAN, organic mango grower from Danao City.
JUANITA CHAN, organic mango grower from Danao City.

In the case of Tolentino, however, he had the capital to finance his mango contracting operations in 2015. He says that this year, he managed no less than 10,000 century old mango trees and 70,000 grafted trees (not century old but 15 to 25 years old).

AT THE MANGO CONGRESS – Many problems of the mango industry were brought out during the 17th National Mango Congress on October 27-28, 2015 in Cebu City under the auspices of the Mango Industry Foundation Inc. (MIFI) headed by Virginia de la Fuente. The Congress was well attended by more than 200 participants from all over Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

Senior mango grower consulting Ricardo Tolentino on good agricultural practices in mango production.
Senior mango grower consulting Ricardo Tolentino on good agricultural practices in mango production.

Ms. De la Fuente stressed the need for the cooperation of all stakeholders which was also echoed by other industry players like Ricardo Tolentino. Tolentino said that Luzon growers can’t move their production beyond May every year because the months after that will already be the rainy and typhoon season in Luzon. On the other hand, Mindanao growers can schedule the fruiting their trees in the rainy months of June to November. The growers in the South can do that and that will be to their advantage.

There was no question about the reasonableness of the proposal. The leaders from the South were seen nodding their heads. It still has to be seen, however, if the proposition will be followed by the growers.

EXCESSIVE USE OF CHEMICALS – Ricardo Tolentino, the only GAP certified mango grower in the country today, observes that many mango owners are spraying their trees excessively against pests (mango hoppers) and diseases. For instance, he said, many mango growers in Pangasinan have told him that they are spraying their trees 10 times in one season against hoppers. And the owners told him that the hoppers don’t seem to mind the chemicals anymore.

Tolentino says he is sure that the mango hoppers in Pangasinan have developed resistance to the chemicals due to overuse of the same. He has his own technique to minimize chemical use which he shared with the Congress attendees. He said that when he sprays his trees with the flower inducer, he combines it with the insecticide and fungicide. By the time the flowers are out, there will be very few insects around. So he only sprays his fruiting trees three times up to harvest time instead of ten times as practiced by some farmers in Pangasinan.

POOR POSTHARVEST PRACTICES – Many mango growers are losing so much due to poor handling of their harvests. Virgie de la Fuente cited the case of a mango grower in Pangasinan who delivered several tons to a buyer in Cavite. The grower used cement bags to pack his fruits instead of plastic crates. The result? Five tons of his delivery were rejected. So there is a need to teach the mango farmers proper postharvest handling.

HIGH TRANSPORT COST – Many have complained of high transport cost. Growers in Southern Mindanao, for instance, have to transport their harvest to as far as Cagayan de Oro in Northern Mindanao, resulting not only in high cost but in losses due to reduced quality. Virgie de la Fuente also made the suggestion that the shipping companies sbe given access to the ACEF funds to improve their cargo handling facilities for delicate fruits like mangoes.

DELAYED FUND RELEASE – The mango industry has been promised by the Department of Agriculture a grant of P10 million to help rehabilitate the mango industry. The funds could go into training as well as setting up facilities that will benefit the mango farmers. That was promised during the first year of the Aquino administration. So far, however, only the first tranche of P1.5 million has been released although the requirements for release of the remaining amount are all complied with as of the holding of the mango Congress. They are blaming the Department of Budget for withholding the promised amount.

INACCESSIBLE POTASSIUM NITRATE – Potassium nitrate is the main material for inducing mango trees to flower. But because it is also a material for making bombs, there are very strict regulations that have to be met before one can buy and transport the chemical. There is another chemical that is also effective in inducing mango trees to flower. This is the calcium nitrate. An expert at the mango Congress explained that calcium nitrate is not a material for making bombs but because it is a nitrate, it is lumped with potassium nitrate as one of those that cannot be bought and transported freely.

WHAT ARE STAKEHOLDERS DOING? The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), represented in the Congress by Regional Director Linda Boniao of Cagayan de Oro, is very sure of the big demand for Philippine mango in other countries. She said that DTI has been assisting different industry sectors by providing Shared Service Facilities (SSF) wherever it is deemed appropriate and the mango industry should be no exception. Clustering of stakeholders is their strategy so that they can provide assistance to well-defined groups.

PH MANGO PROBLEMS: Discussed At Mango Congress, Cebu City
Charlie Meridores (center) explaining the merits of Better Harvest to Congress visitors.

NEW PRODUCTS – Interestingly, new products that could enhance organic mango production are being released in the market. One of them is Better Harvest, a formulation by AP+LB Agritech Development, Inc. of Charlie Miradores. This is a formulation with the help of UP Los Baños scientists.

When sprayed on the leaves of mango trees after fruit set and 10 to 15 days later, fruit drop will be minimized. The fruits will become bigger and are claimed to be sweeter and with longer shelf life. A number of users from Batangas, Nueva Ecija and Bicol were at the Congress to share their experiences with Better Harvest.

Another new product that was introduced for the mango industry is Supravim distributed by Anthony Cortes. It also promises good results not only in mangoes but also in other crops.

THE NEXT CONGRESS – The 18th National Mango Congress will be held sometime in March 2016 in Laoag City. Hopefully, more of the problems confronting the mango industry will be threshed out and solutions found. Ricardo Tolentino announced in Cebu that they will not charge any registration fee.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

2 thoughts on “PH MANGO PROBLEMS: Discussed At Mango Congress, Cebu City, Oct. 27-28, 2015

    1. The organizer is the Mango Industry Foundation, Inc. headed by Virgie de la Fuente. The next national mango congress will be held on March 15-17, 2016 in Laoag City. Contact Ricardo Tolentino at 0918-402-6462. Thanks for visiting our blog.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.