THE Philippine Mango Industry Foundation Inc. (PMIF) said production of mangoes in the country has dropped as of the second half of 2015 up to the present.
Virginia dela Fuente, PMIF Inc. president, said two factors led to the low productivity of mangoes--the lack of pruning and fertilization.
"Kinahanglan gyud pruning kay dagko na kaayo ang mga mango trees. Tropical fruit biya na sya, kinahanglan gyud og sunlight (Pruning is needed since our mango trees are getting bigger. Mangoes are tropical fruit so they need sunlight)," Dela Fuente said.
In 2006, De la Fuente said, the productivity of the mango trees is at 5.3 metric tons per hectare but after ten years, in 2016, it has gone down to 4.3 metric tons per hectare.
The PMIF president said the major cause of the sudden drop in productivity is the mango trees being uncared for, adding that the Department of Agriculture was not able to intervene as its functions were passed to local government units.
"Our mitigating measure is to organize the commodities association. Ang problema, hanggang organize lang tapos papabayaan na ang mga farmers (The problem is, it ends with organizing and the farmers are left alone)," De la Fuente said.
With the decline of mango production, Dela Fuente said the exports of the fruit to other countries has also been affected leading some to lose some of their market.
In order to solve the problem in the production of mangoes, De la Fuente said they have been given a budget for pruning and fertilization of mango trees for 2019.
She said the average budget for fertilization is P600 per mango tree, adding that the fertilizers to be used will still be discussed.
De la Fuente said Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Pinol also planned to set up learning centers where all the stages of production will be included.
"If you really want to go into mango business, enroll there for two weeks, stay there for two weeks," Dela Fuente said.
According to De la Fuente, the Philippines consists of about 30,000 growers of mango, with Pangasinan as the place with the highest production of mangoes in the country. In Mindanao, the top three mango producers are Zamboanga del Norte, Kidapawan in Cotabato, and Davao del Sur.
The PMIF Inc., together with the Department of Agriculture and Cagayan-Misamis Oriental-Bukidnon Mango Growers, has started the 19th National Mango Congress on November 27 to 29 at Grand Caprice, Limketkai, Cagayan de Oro City.
The three-day event was attended by major players in mango industry all over the country.
Published in the SunStar Cagayan de Oro newspaper on November 30, 2017.