MANILA, Philippines?The Philippine mango industry is in for a challenging year as shifting weather patterns and increasing costs threaten to bring down production.
Roberto C. Amores, president and CEO of mango exporter Hi-Las Marketing Corp., said in an interview that early rains this year were affecting mango orchards in Luzon.
Rains affect the development of the sweet, fleshy fruits that are harvested around June.
?From 900,000 metric tons two years ago it may be 650,000 metric tons this year,? he said. ?There may be recovery if the weather improves soon.?
Amores said a secondary factor is increasing cost of farm inputs.
As for exports, flat or negative growth looms as the Philippines? competitiveness is hampered by the presence of chemical residue in some products, he said.
The total contribution of fresh and processed mangoes to the world market is about $150 million, Amores said.
?We hope to maintain the value,? he said.
The Philippines is not able to maintain its core markets in fresh mangoes because of challenges in production, high cost and issues in chemical residues, Amores said, citing intensifying competition from Mexico and Thailand.
However, the country can divert its focus on processed mango products.
?Dried mango products may still grow. Dried mangoes may register a flat to upward trend,? he said, explaining that areas not reached by fresh produce because of freight cost and other concerns take on processed products instead.
In an effort to help the mango industry, among others, the agriculture department has offered investment opportunities to a delegation of businessmen from Saudi Arabia.
?We have aging trees which we need to replace so there is an investment opportunity in farming,? Yap told the delegation on Wednesday, referring to the country?s mango plantations.
?There is also growing demand for processed products.?
The ?carabao? mango variety is considered the best in the world, and is known as ?Manila Super? mango, according to the agriculture department?s Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Service.
The service says the Philippine mango is sold worldwide as a distinct Philippine fruit export, with comparable buyer recall to the New Zealand kiwi, Washington apples, Valencia oranges and Chinese ponkan.