Increased mango production in Mindanao sought

KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews/07 August) — Farmers in Mindanao have been urged to plant more mangoes to boost the country’s production  and increase its competitiveness in the international markets.

Fred Dumasis, president of the Sarangani Federation of Fruit Industry Associations, Inc., said they will discuss the potentials of mango production in the region during the 13th National Mango Congress in Glan, Sarangani province on September 28-30.

“We would like to highlight the Soccsksargen Region, especially Sarangani province, as a viable location for off-season mango production,” said Dumasis, whose group is the congress’ lead organizer.

“Soccsksargen” actually refers to Region 12 or Southwestern Mindanao. It comprises the provinces of South Cotabato, Sarangani, Sultan Kudarat and North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato City.

Dumasis explained that the region’s vast land area and favorable agro-climatic condition “make it an ideal location for year-round mango production” and could host critical support service facilities such as hot-water treatment, vapor heat treatment plants and packing houses.

“Through the conference, we hope that our local mango growers will be encouraged to expand production and improve quality, and consequently, help boost our industry’s exports,” he said in a statement.

Themed “Positioning the Philippine Mango Strongly in the World Market,” the congress specifically aims to help local producers better understand and comply with the quality requirements of foreign markets which include Japan, China, Hong Kong and South Korea.

The conference will also showcase areas in Mindanao which have the potential to become mango production areas, update farmers on the latest production technologies, and share best production practices among industry stakeholders.

Last year, mango production in Region 12 increased to 44,413.44 metric tons from 42,229.16 in 2009, data from the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics showed.

Around 500 growers, processors, consolidators, exporters and ancillary service providers from across the country are expected to attend the three-day event.

The congress will also feature plenary sessions on the prevailing industry situation, emerging market trends, logistics, and government support programs for the mango industry.

To cap the event, conference delegates are expected to submit proposed action plans to the national government, including proposals on how industry players and relevant government agencies can work together to ensure the mango industry’s continued growth and expansion in the coming years.

Philippine mangoes have gained a foothold in the Asian market.  The country is the biggest supplier of fresh mangoes to Hong Kong, accounting for 39% of the latter’s mango imports in 2003, data from the Growth with Equity in Mindanao showed.

The Philippines is also a major supplier of mangoes to Japan, accounting for almost 63% of the country’s fresh mango requirements. The Philippines also exports mangoes to South Korea, mainland China, Singapore and the United States, it added.

GEM is a project funded by the United States Agency for International Development. (Bong S. Sarmiento/MindaNews)