DA allots P40-M to prop up mango industry

THE Department of agriculture has set aside an initial P40 million to further prop up the country’s mango industry, particularly to fund initiatives under a five-year development plan of the Philippine Mango Industry Foundation, Inc. (PMIFI).

Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala said of the initial amount, P10M will be used to provide production inputs and rehabilitate mango farms affected by typhoons during the last two years, and P30M to bankroll other PMIFI projects next year.

Alcala made the commitment during the 14th National Mango Congress in Mandaue City , on November 15, attended by 500 mango farmers, processors, traders, exporters, input suppliers, local government heads and agriculture officials.

During a forum the DA chief asked the PMIFI, led by its President Virginia dela Fuente, to consider ‘geo-tagging’ mango farms nationwide so that provision of assistance will be focused, and monitoring of production and harvest would be more accurate and efficient. He said ‘geo-tagging’ has been proven successful in the implementation and monitoring of infrastructure and farm-to-market road projects in Mindanao .

Dela Fuente said PMIFI plans to set up an irradiation facility to ensure that products are free from pests and diseases, and comply with stringent phytosanitary requirements especially when exporting fresh mangoes.

As part of her group’s contribution to the Aquino administration’s Food Staples Sufficiency Program (FSSP), Dela Fuente said PMIFI farmer-members have committed to earmark five percent of their farms to be intercropped with cassava and sweet potato.

Organized in 2001, the PMIFI is composed of 15 mango associations and federations, with thousands of members nationwide.

Alcala said the DA through its High Value Crops Development Program (HVCDP) will continue to provide farmers quality mango seedlings with the establishment of nurseries and scion groves, and the provision of needed production and marketing support.

HVCDP national coordinator Director Jennifer Remoquillo said the DA will also put up more postharvest facilities and conduct skills training to enable processors to produce other world-class mango by-products like wine, puree, and dried strips, among others.

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