Australia shows interest in Sarangani mangoes

Nenita Barroso, DTI-Sarangani director, said there will be a meeting on Friday in the capital town of Alabel to discuss Australia’s plan to check out Sarangani’s mangoes.

She said this is part of the local mango growers’ bid to enter the Australian market.

Australia has earlier funded a mango survey in Davao del Sur.

“This is a good opportunity for our mango growers. There is a need for them to seek export destinations to avoid over-supply during harvest season,” Barroso noted.

Philippine mangoes, Barroso said, are still not allowed in Australia. The national government is thus finding ways to reverse the tide.

If given the opportunity, the Philippines can export about a million tons of mangoes in three to five years, according to Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap.

Canberra, he said, has been providing assistance to the Philippines for its mangoes to be able to enter Australia.

Australian Prime Minister John Howard earlier committed technical aid for the mango industry, and also extend assistance to Philippine agriculture in the areas of foot and mouth disease eradication and research projects in the tropical fruit sector.

Sarangani has about 5,000 hectares of mango plantations planted by over a hundred farmers, with about 3,000 hectares already capable of producing fruits. Barroso said more farmers are still planting mangoes.

Around 72 percent of these mango plantations are in the municipality of Malungon, which prioritized mango under the “One-Town One Product” program.

Benjamin Figueroa, president of the Malungon Mango Growers Association, estimated that 18,000 metric tons of mangoes can be harvested annually when all the trees are already fruit bearing.