Rains bring down mango production in Mindanao

Unusually wet weather hounds industry

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DAVAO City, Philippines—Mango production in Mindanao is down by more than 30 percent this year due to the unusually wet weather over the past three years, according to mango industry officials.

Fred Dumasis, president of the Sarangani Federation of Fruit Industry Association (Safia), said that since 2008, Mindanao has not experienced favorable weather for mango production.

Mango trees bear more fruits during the dry season.

“There has been no clear dry and wet season. There is only wet and wet season,” Dumasis said here last week.

Virginia de la Fuente, president of the Philippine Mango Industry Foundation Inc. (PMIF), said the unstable weather condition since 2008 pulled down mango harvest in the entire country to only about 670,000 metric tons per year.

Before 2008, production was around 970,000 metric tons per year, Ms. De la Fuente said.

The Philippines, according to the 2004 report of the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics, is ranked the world’s seventh-largest mango producer.

De la Fuente said erratic weather conditions have affected the productivity of the country’s mango fields—which the BAS estimated at 158,000 hectares, and has reduced the income of 2.5 million farmers and their families.

To increase production, she said farmers have to spend more to coax production.

“During the last three years, there is no stable weather condition, prompting mango growers to induce mango trees to enable them to bear fruits,” De la Fuente said.

Problems hounding the mango industry will be among the topics to be discussed during the 13th Mango Congress in Glan, Sarangani province, from September 28 to 30, De la Fuente said.

While the mango industry’s outlook was dismal because of lower production, the coconut industry, especially in Southern Mindanao, has been getting a shot in the arm.

Last week, the Maryland-based Trasian Development Llc., a major supplier of composite wood, announced its plans to put up a coconut shell processing plant here.

Steve Traylor, Trasian chief operating officer, told reporters here the plant would be put up either in Tibungo or Lasang.

Traylor said Trasian aims to use coconut shells in the manufacture of the company’s composite wood boards.

Traylor said Trasian would start building the plant in December.

Aside from Trasian, the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) in Southern Mindanao said three more desiccated coconut plants will rise in the region, which groups the three Davao provinces and Compostela Valley, within the year.

The investments, according to PCA regional director Lornito Orillaneda, would pump P52.3 billion in investments in the coconut industry.

Orillaneda said proposed plants were also expected to generate 500 jobs.

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