House bill pushes for 500M mango development fund

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A Partylist for marginalized farmers AAMBIS-Owa is pushing for the immediate passage of a bill that aims to develop a five-year framework for development of the local mango industry.

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Authored by Deputy Speaker Sharon Garin, House Bill 3538, also known as the Philippine Mango Development Act of 2016, aims to develop a five-year framework for Development to help increase production of export quality fruits, produce comprehensive research, modernize post-harvest facilities and techniques, and formulate effective marketing and promotion strategies.

The bill is pending at the Committee on Agriculture and Food.

“Mangoes, considered as the national fruit of our country, are said to be one of the best fresh mangoes in the world,” Garin said in a statement.

This bill also aims to establish a Philippine Mango Development Fund (PMDF) with an initial budget of P500 million to be taken from the existing budget of the DA. This is to provide funding for propagation, production, research and development, post-harvest handling and processing, marketing and promotion of Philippine mangoes.

With the enactment of this bill, Garin said that it would strengthen the competitiveness of the Philippine Mango through lower product costs, improved phytosanitary measures and quarantine protocols in line with the Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), decreased post-harvest losses, modernized techniques and technologies, and comprehensive research and development.

Effective and concerted local and international marketing strategies can also be formed, the representative said.

Mango is the third largest fruit export of the country next to Cavendish Banana and Pineapple. It has gained international notice due to its superior quality and taste compared to other varieties.

Garin, however, said that its competitive edge is blunted by other varieties from mango-producing countries such as Mexico, Australia, Thailand, and Vietnam due to a number of obstacles to production.

“It is vital that we develop and promote a globally competitive mango industry, to increase production and generate higher income for mango farmers, growers, traders and other stakeholders,” she said.

One of the challenges faced by the industry is the predominance of backyard farms, which accordingly poses problems to quality control.

According to the Department of Agriculture (DA), small farmers own 73 percent of the total area planted. Furthermore, the industry is burdened by irregular and relatively low yield, susceptibility to insect pests, diseases and disorders, among others.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Research & Development may continue to offer enormous gains for mango production and address the problems faced by small farmers.

“While we still can, we must prune all obstacles and challenges which threaten to rot the Mango industry unto its eventual downfall. The government must institute far-reaching policies that would genuinely develop the national fruit’s productivity, marketability, and viability,” she added.

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