THE dwindling of the mango industry can be attributed to the mango contractors and the lack of proper know-how of mango farmers, said an official of a mango growers group.

Samahan ng Magmamangga ng Davao Region, Inc. (SMDRI) chairman Richard Olores said a few years back the mango industry in the region can still produce eight to 12 tons of mangoes per hectare. But recently, it was reduced to only three to five tons per hectare.

The decrease in production was mainly because of the mango farmers not entirely hands on with their farms, SMDRI secretary Wilfredo Sebuco said during Habi at Kape at Abreeza Ayala Malls on Thursday, October 12.

“This could be probably because they lack the capital, they lack proper technology know-how, or they do not have access in the market. They are exploited by the contractors who are very good in marketing, financing. So if the contractors fail, the farmers are also in the losing end. So for so many times that contractors fail, farmers already thought of converting their mango farms into other fruit-bearing tree plantations,” Sebuco said.

Olores added the failure of contractors is sometimes because of farm overuse and lack of proper fertilization. He said mangoes should only be bearing fruits once a year.

“Most of the small mango growers partner with contractors in growing and looking after their mango farms. They are not the ones who will declare the prices of the mango anymore. That’s why other farmers are discouraged of mango farming and decides to cut their trees and plant bananas instead. With bananas, they can also make out their own prices. With mangoes, small growers had experienced that the contractors are the ones who will declare the prices and where they would market the mango. Farmers can’t dictate the prices,” Olores said.

Sebuco said they have consulted this problem with the Department of Agriculture (DA).

In turn, DA plans to come up with a processing plant for mango to buy directly from the farmers and not anymore from middlemen. Through this, pricing of the mangos will be declared properly.