Agri Chief: "Let's eat, promote our own fruits!"

Brilliantly-colored, ripe, newly-picked Sapinit fruits found in Laguna & Quezon provinces. (Photo courtesy of DA-BAR)

MANILA -- Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala said  it is heartening to hear of the surging sales of round fruits as the most sought-after “lucky food” for ushering in the coming new year.  He urges the consuming public, however, to give preference to fruits produced by the nation’s farmers and orchard operators.
“Our country is blessed with many fruits that compare favorably in taste, nutritional and health benefits with those from other countries,” said the DA chief. 
“Our mango, for example, is one of the most highly-valued fruits abroad.  We also have pineapple, guava, lanzones, caimito, chico, durian, rambutan, papaya, guyabano, and marang, among others.  
"We also have high-quality citrus fruits, like the seedless sweet oranges produced in Nueva Vizcaya and pomelos in Davao," he added.  "Also, we have several varieties of melons and watermelons that are available year-round.”
He said most of our tropical fruits are fresher and contain phyto-chemicals and essential nutrients beneficial to one's health.  
Thus, buying Pinoy fruits gives consumers more value for their money, in addition to providing our farmers, orchard owners and their families more income. Secretary Alcala noted.
He urged the country’s legislators and policy-makers, health and nutrition practitioners, educators and parents to promote the consumption of our fruits, especially by the youth.
“We should encourage and lead by example, and urge our young people to love Pinoy fruits,” said the DA chief. “We should also teach them to appreciate indigenous fruits like kalumpit, yaniko and sapinit, the so-called ‘Pinoy wild raspberry’.”
Because of their unique taste, the country’s indigenous fruits have great potential as export products.  Sapinit, for instance, is now being processed into quality juice and jam to offset its short shelf life.

In all, he said consuming and promoting more Philippine fruits will not only promote good health among our people, but also help the farming sector, and further strengthen our nation’s economy.  
“Patronizing our farmers’ produce  will spur them to higher productivity and profitability, and boost our fruit exports as well for the benefit of our people and country,” Secretary Alcala concluded. (DA Information Service)