• Davao forum tackles mango sector concerns

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    DAVAO CITY: The agriculture department is drafting a five-year roadmap aimed at saving the domestic mango industry.

    The plan will utilize inputs from forums to be conducted nationwide, one of which held in this city and joined by over 600 stakeholders from Mindanao.

    The “Mindanao Mango Stakeholders’ Forum” was staged on Wednesday at the Mandaya Hotel with Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol present.

    “Napakalaki ng opportunities na nawala dahil napabayaan ang mango industry (Many opportunities have been lost because the mango industry was abandoned),” Piñol told reporters at the sidelines.

    “We are conducting four nationwide consultations so we will be able to come up with a clear picture of what we should do, to rehab, revive and reinvigorate the mango industry of the country,” he said.

    Figures presented during the forum highlighted a decrease in yields over the past decade.

    From 5.35 metric tons per hectare in 2006, mango production dropped to 4.33 metric tons per hectare in 2016.

    This was despite an increase in the number of hectares planted to mangoes during the same period – from 171,710 hectares in 2006 to 187,839 hectares in 2016.

    “Once our mango industry thrived, but for a while nakaligtaan natin (we stopped focusing on it) so we are going back to the basics, ano ba ang pwede nating gawin para buhayin muli ang isang industriya na napakalaki ng advantage natin (what can we do to revive an industry where we had a significant advantage),” Piñol said.

    Issues discussed included the lack of fertilization, pruning and other management practices. Stakeholders also considered the impact of climate change and cases of pest infestations.

    High costs of inputs and low market prices were noted and the lack of capital was also raised.

    “Part of the forum is to know the problems. I’ve heard a lot of problems today and we hope that by the end of these consultations, we will know what support we can provide to the industry and the stakeholders,” Piñol said.

    Alexander D. Lopez

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