MANILA — The country is officially the seventh biggest mango producer worldwide in 2009 based on figures of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), raking in $54.25 million in export earnings in 2007.
A study of mango production in Batangas showed, however, that the country can do more to develop a scientifically-based, more efficient fruit management that maximizes the efficacy of inputs and improves the quality of fruits.
The Philippines has not achieved much success in penetrating markets for this tropical fruit, which could earn more if the Department of Agriculture (DA) succeeds in shaking off the lethargy of the industry.
Newly-appointed Presidential Assistant for Food Security and Agricultural Modernization (PAFSAM) Secretary Francis Pangilinan is not expected to do much for the industry because his mandate is a mile removed from export promotion and lobbying for better treatment for Philippine agricultural commodities in the US and European Union (EU.)
His only possible involvement with agriculture came when he was named to head the Senate committee on agriculture that exercises oversight functions on the DA and the P10-billion Agricultural Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (Acef), which had been saddled with anomalies as well.
From 2002 to 2008, the total annual mango production stood at 962,998 metric tons (MT) from an average of 7.49 million trees planted in 167,437 hectares of land, with yields at 5.79 MT per hectare and 0.13 MT per tree.
Region 1 tops mango production nationwide, contributing 42 percent, while Batangas is tops in Calabarzon, contributing 65 percent of the regional yield even as the region is still No. 8 at 4.46 percent of total national output.
Despite these figures noted a recent study of the mango industry conducted by Dr. Flordeliza A. Lantican, former dean of the College of Economics and Management (CEM) of the University of the Philippines at Los Banos (UPLB), Bathes M. Bathan, Maximina A. Lantican, Dianne Lara l. Monis and Kristeen Joil G. Lantican for the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (Searca), mango production declined by 0.96 percent per annum “because of the negative growth rate in the yield per hectare (yield/ha) at – 4.55 percent and yield per tree (yield/tree) at -4 percent.”
The slash in output came even as there was a 3.68 percent annual farm expansion and an increase in the number of fruit-bearing trees by 3.16 percent, the Lantican team noted.
Searca Executive Director D. Gil C. Saguiguit Jr. said the “monograph analyzed the growth in the industry by measuring and disaggregating rhe sources of growth over time using analytical approaches appropriate to Philippine conditions.”
Saguiguit noted that the mango industry can be an export winner and provide value added products if appropriate policy and investment strategies are devised.
Overall, said the Lantican team, Batangas’s mango production suffered from 2002 to 2008, with yield declining 13.88 percent per year “brought about by the the negative annual growth in yield/ha at -16.02 percent and yield/tree at -14.57 percent.”