By Jasper Y. Arcalas, June 4 2019; Business Mirror

Image Credit to Business Mirror

The country has an estimated mango surplus of at least 2 million kilograms that has prompted the Department of Agriculture (DA) to undertake a massive marketing campaign to aid farmers from falling farm-gate prices.

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol called an emergency meeting on Monday with mango industry stakeholders, including farmers and processors, to discuss the ongoing oversupply in the market.

After the meeting, it was revealed that there are at least 2 million kilograms of surplus in Luzon alone due to bumper harvest recently, Piñol added.

He explained that the “unusual” production this season was attributed to the prolonged dry spell that provided mango trees recovery time to bear more fruits.

“The last time they had this kind of harvest was during the El Niño in 2015 to 2016,” he said in an interview with reporters on Monday.

To help the farmers, Piñol said, the DA will launch on June 10 its Metro Mango Marketing Program wherein the department would open up outlets across the Metro to sell the fruit at P50 per kilogram.

Furthermore, some local processors have agreed to ramp up their purchase of mango from Filipino farmers to flush out the surplus in the domestic supply, he added.

The agriculture chief said one of the reasons the prices of mango dropped is because one of the big dried-mango processors stopped buying locally.

“Justin Uy of ProFood [International Corp.] in Cebu stopped buying from farmers,  so prices dropped. His Bulacan plant used to buy 500 metric tons daily,  now it only buys 20 metric tons per week,” Piñol said.

“He is hurting the mango industry and his excuse is that local mangoes are expensive that’s why he resorted to importation. But when we checked the landed cost of imported mangoes, it’s almost the same us the local ones,” the DA chief added.

Nonetheless, Piñol said, mango industry stakeholders have agreed that starting next year they would meet every February to assess the supply and demand situation prior to harvest season.

In this way, the DA could help farmers position their stocks in case there’s abundant supply.

“On the long term, we would like the farmers to establish their own processing facilities,” Piñol said.

The DA-Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Service (Amas) is now also encouraging interested businessmen and private entities that would want to purchase mango from local farmers.

The DA-Amas offered to link up interested parties with local Filipino mango farmers.

The DA-Amas offers to sell mangoes at P25 per kilogram if the buyer would purchase at least 4 metric tons. Export- grade mangoes are also available at P50 per kilogram for every 4-metric ton order.

Mango farmers are now producing 100 MT per week of process and export-quality mangoes, DA-Amas said.

The average farm-gate price of mango in the first quarter dropped by 17.5 percent to P48.45 per kilogram due to poor quality of produce, the Philippine Statistics Authority said.

A kilo of mango was priced P58.73 per kilogram in the January-to-March period of 2018, the PSA added.