Mango prices in Zamboanga City play at 100-120 pesos per kilo at the local market. While this may be a good price for producers; it is otherwise for the consuming public.

The lack of mango supply causes prices to increase. According to the City Agriculture Office, the supply of mango in the market has been declining due to last years’ damage from weather cyclones that hit the region. “Strong winds won’t be able to save the mango trees in bloom; those trees that were sprayed all went down during the heavy rains. Mango farmers won’t be able to recover in time for harvest in the summer.” said Mr. Antonio Magsino, Jr. of the city agriculture - high value crops development program (HVCDP)-crop protection section. Magsino said the typhoons in October and December last year (2017) left the mango trees unfruitful in the east of the city.

During the Mango Forum held on Friday at Jardin dela Viña hotel; mango growers, contractors, buyers and consolidators, including local government field technicians gathered to discuss measures to take to keep mangoes in the market.

Mr. Bonifacio Laborada, President of the ZC Mango Growers Association expressed concerns in the trend of mango. He said, “Mango prices are unstable. We seek support from the government to have a workable solution to the concerns we face.”

According to Ms Merida Garcia, Office of the City Agriculture HVCDP Coordinator since last year, reports have reached their office that mango farms and orchards in the city has been bought by new owners. “Most of the new owners are OFWs who came home and bought farms because they have the resources but they still lack knowledge in farm management.” she said.

Ms Garcia explains how (mango) farm management and good agricultural practices are crucial in its production. “We encourage a grower/contractor to utilize a method that can make their farm produce mangoes the whole year-round. For instance, if you have 100 mango trees, do not spray them all at the same time, spray some 20-25 trees every two months so that eventually you can harvest in a monthly basis come harvest season.”

Garcia also said that Zamboanga fresh mangoes are mostly being exported to Malaysia and Japan, where mangoes are also being processed in power, puree, among others.

The Department of Agriculture through the High Value Development Program provides trainings, quality planting materials, postharvest equipment such as power sprayers and plastic container crates.

Mr. Albert R. Cuadra, DA9-HVCDP report officer said that the farmer’s choice of crop-shifting (from mango production to coffee or cacao, others) also has caused the decline in its supply, aside from being affected by unfavourable weather conditions.

Cuadra said that the DA through the City Agriculture office will provide advanced-trainings on mango production. “In April, if preparations are ready, we will conduct mango training that will not limit to lectures but will include a hands-on demo. We will include the pre to post harvest technologies and also the market links assistance to those who need it.”

Ms Teresa Bejerano-Mangulad of the DA-Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Division (AMAD) also confirmed for the support in the training. She said, “We encourage mango growers or producers or any other crop for that matter, to please inform us early of their estimated production, so we can make pre-market links to buyers who are interested of their products.”

Mangulad also presented the priority programs of AMAD that aims to create direct market from producer to consumers. She said that the DA (AMAD/HVCDP) with OCA still needs to sit with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to also discuss other matters that concern mango markets, including the updating the directory for mango providers in the city.#(DA9INFO)