DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 27 Nov) – Farmers from Mindanao will soon export mangoes and other agricultural produce to Malaysia and Indonesia as senior officials and ministers among these countries recently agreed to intensify trade beginning early next year.
MinDA executive director Janet M. Lopoz said during Wednesdays at Habi at Kape that Malaysia and Indonesia, in a gathering in Kuching, Sarawak in Malaysia last week, agreed to import agricultural produce from Mindanao, opening another opportunity for local mango growers.
She said Mindanao may also supply these countries with chicken and bananas.
“For those agreements, we are seeing a lot of promise. Mindanao is very much into it,” Lopoz said.
She said they encourage the fragmented mango organizations here to strengthen their ranks so they can easily gain a firm footing once they enter these new international markets in the Brunei Darussalam Indonesia Malaysia and Philippines East Asian Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA), a 25-year-old sub-regional economic cooperation initiative in Southeast Asia designed to spur economic development in the lagging sub-economies.
She said one of the issues that the government is fixing with its Malaysian and Indonesian counterparts include the phytosanitary standards, which bar the mango exporters to enter new international markets for failing to meet the required minimum residual level.
According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, mango production in the country from April to June 2019 stood at 556,000 metric tons, higher by 5.4 percent compared to 528,000 metric tons recorded in the same period of 2017.
It said the highest producer of mango during the period was Ilocos Region, contributing 22.6 percent to the total national production. Zamboanga Peninsula and Central Visayas followed with 10.5 percent and 9.7 percent, respectively.
Lopoz said Japan has closed its doors to mango exports from the Philippines as it failed to satisfy standard maximum residue limit of certain pesticides used by local farmers that are deemed toxic by Japanese regulatory bodies.
Olie B. Dagala, director III for the Investment Promotions, International Relations and Area Office of MinDA, said that the mango farms are spread all over Zamboanga Region but most of them are fragmented under different organizations and could not thus conduct unified efforts in penetrating the Japanese market.
He said the government is currently talking with its Malaysian and Indonesian counterparts to come up with a set of guidelines on the phytosanitary protocols. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)