The Tokyo University of Agriculture (Tokyo Nodai), in cooperation with the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) that has partnered with the Mindoro State College of Agriculture and Technology (MinSCAT), has introduced off-season production of calamansi in Victoria, Oriental Mindoro as part of its effort to help the Philippines export the commodity.
"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 of SEARCA.
A technology on pruning and the use of plant growth regulators in order to delay the harvest of calamansi have been employed in a pilot calamansi production in Victoria. With those techniques, year-round harvest becomes possible, enabling farmers to enjoy a higher income from the high-value crop.
The project also raises potential to increase the Philippines' calamansi export of around 170 metric tons yearly to Hong Kong, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. Export is in the form of fresh and processed calamansi.
MinSCAT, led by its Vice President Ma. Conception Mores, coordinated with Tokyo Nodai to identify farm sites for the continuous trial for the off-season calamansi production technology. Farmer-cooperators were tapped to participate in the pilot farming.
Studies showed that constraints in the calamansi industry's growth 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, and low prices during peak season.
There is also lack of resources, skills, knowledge and experience in collective marketing among calamansi farmers.
The two-year project aims to address these technical and market constraints, and 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 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 the calamansi industry of Oriental Mindoro.