The Department of Agriculture (DA) is confident it can sell off at least 1 million kilos of mangoes this month as it formally launched a metro-wide drive to aid local mango farmers from the falling prices of their produce.
Several outlets in Metro Manila, including the DA Central Office, Bureau of Plant and Industry in Malate, Muntinlupa City Hall, Paranaque City Hall, and several branches of Waltermart in
Makati, Pasay, and North Edsa in Quezon City have been identified by the DA for the initiative, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said,
The DA’s Metro Mango Marketing Program was launched following an appeal from Luzon growers who experienced mango bumper harvest which lowered buying prices of local processors. The bumper harvest was a result of the El Nino or dry spell which hit the country recently.
Mangoes from various provinces in Luzon as well as Mindanao are currently sold at P20 to P50 per kilo amid the threat of rotting due to surplus production of about 2 million kilos. Consumers flocked at the DA Central Office on Monday to take advantage of the sell-off.
“Within the way, we’re quite expecting to dispose of about 1 million kilos or 100 metric tons. This is the phenomenon of El Niño… called fallowing where the soil has rested for some time because of the heat and with sudden rains, the production of fruit trees increases. According to mango growers, it happens every three to four years,” Pinol said.
“It’s a good phenomenon for us. The only problem is our farmers weren’t able to immediately coordinate with us that they have expected oversupply and partly the DA has fell short on monitoring these developments,” he added.
To boost the country’s mango industry, Pinol said the DA would also address the high cost of mango production in the Philippines and encourage local farmers to go into processing and value-adding.
“This is the way to go in Philippine agriculture. We must focus on value-adding actually,” he said, noting the agency’s focus on utilizing “better technology” for mango farming which was included in the Philippine Mango Road Map crafted last year.
Meanwhile, Piñol remained optimistic that the Japanese government would fully soften its protocols on tariff for Philippine mangoes. “Actually, [we’re asking for] zero [tariff], which is also the same privilege being given to Mexico for the entire season,” he said.
Piñol added that Japan was poised to increase its importation of Philippine mangoes “as long as the country would meet the standards” of the East Asian country. Piñol said Japanese fruit importing firm Diamond Star has committed 100 metric tons of additional mangoes for next season.
“They have been buying from us actually. They just have some issues they raise on minimum residual level (MRL). From a high of 7,000 metric tons of Philippine mango supply to Japan and now we’re down to 300 MT because of those issues,” he said.
For the past years, Japan was importing only about 12,000 MT of mangoes yearly from its various country sources worldwide.