MANILA, February 2, 2006
 (BULLETIN) Sen. Ramon Magsaysay Jr. said the local mango industry could expect a better prospect this year, even as he urged the Department of Agriculture to expand the area devoted to mango production and to ensure the production of high quality mangoes, particularly carabao mango, for the export market.

"Big opportunities are in store for our mango producers and exporters as a result of the recent development, particularly in postharvest technology and the opening up of new foreign markets. However, there is more to be done in increasing production and improving the quality of our mangoes whether as fresh or processed products," the senator said.

Magsaysay, chair of the Senate committee on agriculture, said that at present, the country has around 160,000 hectares of land planted to some 7 million fruit bearing mango trees and producing about one million metric tons of fresh mango annually.

Citing a DA report, he said the country earns million a year on mango exports reaching 65,000 metric tons. But this foreign shipments account for only 4 percent of rising global demand. Fresh mango accounts for about 50 percent of export and the rest were processed mango such as dried, puree, juice concentrates and juice other than concentrates. The top importers were Japan, Hong Kong and the United States.

"We can expect increased revenues from mango exports this year with the recent announcement made by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to extend a million grant for the expansion of Philippine mango export to the US. The US is expanding mango imports from the Philippines beyond Guimaras-produced mangoes," Magsaysay said.

Japan has also lifted the order which imposed 100 percent inspection for all mango products coming from Philippine exporters as long as they will follow strictly the mango export protocol agreeed upon by the Philippines and Japana on March 8, 2005. Japan has implemented a new Maximum Residue Level (MRL) of the chemical Chlorpyrifos and Cypermethrin for mango to 0.05 and 0-.03 parts per million, respectively," he said.

Japan, which contributes roughly million to the revenues generated from mango exports, absorbs about 74 percent of the country’s export of mango juice concentrates and 30percent of total export of fresh mangoes. Japan also imports mango puree, dried mangoes and mango juice other than concentrates from the Philippines.

Magsaysay said that the recent study of our postharvest scientists to prolong the shelf life of fresh mangoes using controlled atmosphere technology is another boost to the industry.

"Using this technology, fresh mangoes can be stored for at least 28 days, providing exporters enough time to transport them by sea vessel, thus spending lesser shipment cost composed of airfreight," he explained.

Magsaysay called on the Fertilizer and Pesticide authority to strictly monitor the use of regulated pesticides on mangoes to ensure the quality and helthfulness of local mangoes to attract more buyers and to prevent the banning of our produce in foreign countries.

He also urged DA to intensify the promotion of carabao mango to capture more foreign markets. The Philippines is the world’s second top mango exporter, next only to Mexico. Aside from Japan, Hong Kong and USA, the other foreign buyers of local fresh and processed mangoes are Singapore, South Korea, China, Taiwan, Guam, Canada, Netherlands, New Zealand and Germany.

Mango ranked 6th in terms of contribution to the country’s total value of agricultural crop production, contributing roughly R15 million. Pangasinan is the top producing province with 40 percent share. The other top producing provinces are Batangas, Bulacan, Ilocos Norte, South Cotabato and Zambales.

By the way, mango growers are urged to plant only the carabao mango strains that are certified by the National Seed Industry Council such as MMSU Gold, Sweet Elena, Lamao, six strains from Guimaras and others.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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