Agapito Regulacion, Center Chief of Davao Agricultural Research Central Experiment Station (DARCES) strikes a happy face as he proudly presents the fruits of their Off-Season Mangosteen production. | Photo by Arjay Delino

A NEW technique developed by government researchers in Davao City can make mangosteen trees bear fruit during the off-season months which could be the months before the peak season of August to October.The technique involves installing rain shelter (sturdy transparent plastic) above the crown of the tree.

In the experiments it was found that 60 days (two months) after the rain shelter was installed, 95% of the upper branches of the tree produced flowers. Only 30% of the lower branches, however, produced flowers. What could be the reason? The researchers concluded that the higher temperature of 35 degrees Celsius could have induced the higher flowering rate in the upper branches. The temperature in the lower branches was lower at 32 degrees Celsius.

Suppose the rain shelter is installed on December 1, 2018. The flowers will come out two months  later which could be January 31, 2019. The fruits would be harvestable in 100 to 120 days which would be in the middle of May 2019. If one wishes to harvest in the month of April, the rain shelter could be installed in November or earlier. The installation of the rain shelter means that no rain reaches the root zone of the tree, hence a condition of drought is achieved. This is also considered contributory to the off-season flowering of the mangosteen tree.

Off-season mangosteen production using rain shelter.  | Photo by DARCES
The higher rate of induced flowering at the upper portion of the tree is attributed to the high-temperature rate of 35oC compared to its lower portion with temperature rate of only 32oC. | Photo by Celso Vergara

The study was conducted by researchers of the Department of Agriculture – Davao Agricultural Research Central Experiment Station  (DA-DARCES) in Minambulan, Tugbok District, Davao City. The research team was headed by the DARCES chief himself, Agapito Regulacion. The research project was funded by the Bureau of Agricultural Research of the DA. The study titled “Development of Package of Technology for Off-Season Mangosteen Production” started in January 2015 and ended in January 2019.

The good news was e-mailed to us (info@zacsarian.com) by Noel T. Provido of the DA in Davao.

By the way, we were in Davao last August 2018. There was a bumper crop of mangosteen at that time so that we were able to buy good quality fruits at only P40 a kilo. Of course, the farmers were complaining about the low price. Some shippers could not send their fruits by air due to lack of space. We were told that the airlines gave priority to the tuna shippers.

Off-season mangosteen production technology will not only benefit farmers but also consumers who can now enjoy the fruit’s delectable taste and nutritional benefits at a reasonable price. | Photo by Ronell Tangonan
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