The Tokyo University of Agriculture (Tokyo NODAI) has introduced a process in Victoria, Oriental Mindoro to produce calamansi even during the off-season.
The process that involves pruning and the use of plant growth regulators in order to delay the harvest of calamansi has been employed in a pilot plantation in the area that is expected to produce crops all year round.
"The success of these farming technologies in attaining a stable supply of calamansi even during lean months will bring farmers in a better position where they can maximize the economic benefits brought about by higher level of farmgate prices, which in turn raise farm income," said Patricia Ann Pielago, a representative of the South East Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA).
SEARCA has partnered with Tokyo NODAI and the Mindoro State College of Agriculture and Technology in the said project that is also expected to give farmers higher income as it will likely avoid the scenario of a price collapse during high volume season.
For the pilot program, a two-hectare demo farm has been selected with 30 six-year-old trees that were purposively selected, tagged and weeded. The two-year project will also address technical and market constraints as it will employ proven technologies and practices in integrated pest management, fertilization, off-season fruiting and postharvest handling.
SEARCA said the project may help the local calamansi industry improve its potential to expand export to as much as 170 metric tons (MT) yearly to Hong Kong, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.
The group said Philippine calamansi export ranged from 20 to 35 MT in 2008 to 2013.
Likewise, the academic group expects the pilot program to solve the declining volume of calamansi production that was caused by lack of quality seedlings, high incidence of pests and diseases, huge post-harvest losses, limited access to market, inconsistent quality of processed products, and low prices during peak season.
According to data from the Philippine Statistics Authority, the country produced 116,664.68 MT of calamansi in 2017, down from 118,247.69 MT.
SEARCA also said as of 2013, 93 percent of local calamansi is used for domestic consumption while the remaining 7 percent was for export.