by Sheila Herradura Toreno

ILOILO CITY – Seeing the high export potential of the Philippine mangoes especially that of Guimaras, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol planned out strategies to support the local growers and stakeholders.

“Let us revive the mango industry in Guimaras and I am here to help you. What do you need is a good market and fair price for your labor,” Piñol told the mango growers during a consultation held on Sep. 5 in Jordan.

He brought some experts with him to equip farmers on how to rehabilitate old mango trees and those trees which are over sprayed with chemical pesticides. This will result to higher yield from the current average of 500 kilograms per tree to 1.5 metric tons per tree once rejuvenated.

“Majority of the mango growers lack the financial resources, have no access to quality bagging materials, and they have difficulty in curbing pests and diseases incidents,” said Provincial Agriculturist Ronnie Morante.

These problems resulted in the decline in production from 12,732 metric tons in 2006 to 11,238 metric tons last year. Morante also mentioned that during peak months (November to June), the farm gate price of mangoes is around P45 to P60 per kilo.

Piñol called out the support of an investor, and the local leaders to help the mango farmers obtain good market price, sufficient support for the trees rehabilitation, and to ensure an increase in production.

“We were able to bring premium mangoes from Guimaras during President Duterte’s state visit in South Korea this year. From there, we found out that a box of nine mangoes that is equivalent to two kilograms are pegged at 50 US dollars,” he shared.

He urged Archie Po, a Filipino owner of the Lion Air Company in Singapore, to invest in Guimaras mangoes by marketing it to other parts in Asia, Europe, United States and even in Russia.

” Logistics is our major concern when we export our agri products to other countries. He [Archie] owns a 727 cargo plane that can easily transport up to 20 metric tons of Guimaras mangoes abroad every other day. Farmers need to have access to steady market and fair pricing. We want to correct the system by enabling farmers’ profitability,” the agri chief explained.

According to Piñol, the investor will also put up a packing plant in the vacant area in the Bureau of Plant Industry in Guimaras.”They will finance you and help you in the rehabilitation. And your mangoes will be marketed distinctively as premium Guimaras mangoes to other countries.”

The DA Secretary added that a marketing agreement will be created after the series of discussions of the investor, the local government and the mango growers in Guimaras.

The anomalous law of supply and demand in the country prevails since the supply is being controlled by the traders and middlemen, according to Piñol.

“Whoever holds the money, holds the supply. And whoever holds the supply, holds the price. Kay-uhon ta and sistema para indi mapierde ang aton mga mangunguma (sic),” urged Piñol.

He also encouraged the industry stakeholders to adopt new technologies in the production and rehabilitation of old mango trees to increase production.

“We aim to encourage farmers to plant more mango trees. And we are also extending financial assistance to the growers through the Agricultural Credit Policy Council’s Production Loan Easy Access Program,” he added.