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Filipinos Show Growing Interest in Mango Farming
DILIMAN, Quezon City – The growing interest of more Filipinos in mango farming is bringing in more hope for the industry to meet the increasing domestic and international market demand. This was exhibited recently during the Agricultural Training Institute’s (ATI) Free Seminar on Mango Production and Processing.
Around 300 individuals from as far as SOCCSKSARGEN came and participated in the discussion and demonstrations. They are mostly mango growers, local government employees, students, and private citizens with the desire to engage in mango farming.
“I was amazed by the high level of interest that the participants showed. They were very enthusiastic and many of them asked questions which has not happened in my past lectures,” said Yondre Yonder, Chief of the Guimaras National Crop Research Development and Production Support Center (GNCRDPSC). GNCRDPSC is under the Bureau of Plant Industry and is located in San Miguel, Jordan, Guimaras. Yonder was the resource person on Integrated Cultural Management for Mango during the free seminar.
In his half-day lecture, he underscored the importance of the Philippine mango as the country’s top export commodities and one of the most consumed fruits in the world. With the country leading in area and volume of production, the mango industry continues to provide income for many stakeholders.
However, Yonder shares some of the limitations of this industry which include the high cost of production and environmental constraints. “Our average yield nationwide is 4-7 tons per hectare but in 2010 to 2015, fruit yield and quality declined. Thankfully, we recorded a slight increase in 2016,” he added.
“As Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol says, there are three important things that should be provided to ensure sustainability for our farmers. One is production support, be it in the form of capital or inputs. Second is the technology which we, at the BPI, are doing what we can to provide. And, third is the market. With these three combined, we can ascertain a sustainable industry for our farmers,” Yonder expressed.
Retiree Nilda Lagrimas, 60, owns a one-hectare farm in Camiling, Tarlac planted with 100 mango trees. The farm has been productive over the years, until in December 2016, pests destroyed her orchard.
“I didn’t know what to do that’s why I came here, and I’m grateful that I did. I know not what pest attacked our mango trees. I also learned about the importance of pruning and fruit bagging. In the past, I was told that mango trees need the least tending but, as what I’ve learned here, that’s not the case at all,” shared Lagrimas.
Department of Information and Communications Technology Undersecretary for Management and Operations Jorge Sarmiento was also at the event and sat through the whole day’s featured lectures. Learning about the free seminar from the ATI’s Facebook pages, USec. Sarmiento said he grabbed the opportunity to learn about mango-growing as he plans to develop his five-hectare farm in Oriental Mindoro.
Aside from Yonder’s lecture, USec. Sarmiento also learned about mango processing through Engr. Erlyn Billones of GNCRDPSC who demonstrated the steps in making mango atsara, mango preserve, and dried mango.
Some 100 participants also received free mango seedlings by the end of the seminar at the ATI Rural Development and Education Center on April 7, 2017.