Mangoes are one of the most important fruit crops in the Philippines, along with banana and pineapple. Aside from an already established market here, it has a lot of potential in the international market. Foreigners and tourists remain to be impressed with our export variety, called the “Carabao” mango which is known all over the world.
In 2011, the Philippines had a production area of 187,073 hectares and produced 788,074 MT. That same year, mango production dropped by 5.38%. There were fewer fruits harvested in some provinces, as well as reduction of flower induction.
S & T for the mango industry
With the ASEAN integration, demand for quality mangoes is expected. Backed by scientific research on integrated crop management (ICM) and postharvest quality management (PQM), the Philippines’ mango industry is seen as a strong competitor.
ICM and PQM make use of traditional and modern techniques that complement Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) for mango. ICM includes practices that help improve plant health and fruit yield through the reduction of the pests and diseases as well as through the promotion of plant growth and development. It involves cost-effective and need-based pesticide spraying programs and other interventions such as bagging, pruning, and canopy development.
Meanwhile, PQM focuses on postharvest handling practices to ensure that the mangoes are safe and fresh as they are brought to the consumers. PQM is also involved in meeting trade requirements and ensuring that buyers’ specifications are met from harvest to transport.
Because of ICM and PQM, there has been an increase in volume of harvest, quality fruits, and even income of mango stakeholders.
UPLB’s role in the upscaling of the mango industry
The University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) was one of the state colleges and universities that took part in a project funded by the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic, and Natural Resources Research and Development (DOST-PCAARRD).
Seven clusters of mango growers were organized in Regions I, II, III, IV-A, VI, and XII. There were 69 members and the total area covered was 69 hectares. The members were trained on different ICM technologies like pruning, fertilizer application, fruit bagging, and postharvest practices. A team was assigned to each region for direct technical assistance and monitoring of orchard activities.
The program ended last July 2015. Of the 69 cluster members, 29% were able to reach their target yield. While the cost of production increased by 46%, the gross income also increased by 21%. Net income increased by only 8% from PhP 68,512 to PhP 74,142 per hectare though the partial budget showed a higher overall increase in net income of PhP 19,328 per hectare, indicating that adopting ICM technologies is economically viable. Before ending the program, a Mango Care Manual was developed using the 13 leaflets on the ICM technologies.
The clustering strategy has enabled experts to effectively guide the cluster members in the implementation of ICM and PQM. Because of this, the members were able to share their experiences on production and postharvest techniques.
Aside from UPLB, DOST-PCAARRD has partnered with other state universities and colleges all over the Philippines to promote the adoption of ICM and PQM to the mango farmers.
Through this program, the advancement of the Philippine mango industry is seen to reach new heights, especially now that it is backed up by science and technology.