MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Agricultural Research (DA-BAR) has teamed up with the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) to upgrade the calamansi value chain.
Calamansi is indigenous to the Philippines and widely cultivated throughout the country, with the largest production areas found in Victoria, Oriental Mindoro.
According to the DA-Philippine Rural Development Program, buyers prefer calamansi from Oriental Mindoro because it has a thicker rind, stronger taste, longer shelf-life, and resists weight loss.
However, there are gaps and constraints in the calamansi industry that limit its potential to increase income and generate the much-needed employment for the calamansi-growing communities in Oriental Mindoro.
Said constraints include lack of good-quality calamansi seedlings, high incidence of pests and diseases, declining volume of production, huge postharvest losses, limited access to market, inconsistent quality of processed calamansi products, low prices during peak season and lack of resources, skills, and knowledge in collective marketing among calamansi farmers.
Specifically, the project intends to improve calamansi production and fruit quality by using proven technologies and practices in integrated pest management, fertilization, off-season fruiting, and postharvest handling.
The project will also support the commercialization of calamansi-based products through value chain analysis of processed products, market study, and product enhancement.
It will also strengthen capacities of calamansi stakeholders on the improved production and postharvest handling practices, calamansi processing, and entrepreneurship.
Apart from this, the project will promote faculty and student exchange for research and development and technology transfer and promotion.
The project will build on the gains of SEARCA's action research program "Piloting and Upscaling Effective Models of Inclusive and Sustainable Agricultural and Rural Development" that helped revitalize Oriental Mindoro's calamansi which SEARCA has been implementing with the Mindoro State College of Agriculture and Technology and the local government units of Oriental Mindoro since 2015.
The Tokyo University of Agriculture of Japan also began conducting experiments at the project site to validate the effects of off-season production technologies suitable to the growing conditions of calamansi in Victoria, Oriental Mindoro.