Boosting and yielding the quality of mango industry in the Philippines. 

by Julio P. Yap, Jr.

The Adoption of Integrated Crop Management or ICM is being eyed to boost the mango industry in the Philippines. ICM is covered under a study which addresses vital issues in the yield and quality of mangoes in the country.

Dubbed “Research and development of integrated crop management for mango production in the Southern Philippines and Australia,” the study is a component project of the Horticulture Program on Fruits and Vegetables. It is being funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) and the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (PCAARRD-DOST).

The study aims to prevent the decline in production and quality of fruits which is attributed to pests, such as thrips, cecid flies, and fruit flies, as well as diseases such as anthracnose, blossom blight, scab, and stem end rot, which occur during pre- and postharvest.

Here in the country, production problem is aggravated by concerns regarding unproductive trees, including the high costs of inputs such as pesticides and fertilizers. Research institutions and local government units were tasked conduct research activities under the project to address these problems.

Amkong the collaborating agencies include the University of Southeastern Philippines (USeP), Southern Philippines Agri-Business and Marine and Aquatic School of Technology (SPAMAST), University of Southern Mindanao (USM), University of the Philippines-Los Baños (UPLB), and the provincial agriculturist offices of Davao Del Norte and Davao del Sur.

The research is primarily geared towards improving fruit quality by developing effective insect control and integrated pest management (IPM) solutions for pre and post-harvest fungal diseases. It also targets the improvement of fruit size and yield by optimizing nutrition and canopy management.

Ultimately, it aims to improve the livelihood and the corresponding profit of the mango farmers by developing and implementing an integrated management package of “best practices.”

During an annual review of completed and on-going research held recently, initial results showed that the use of recommended insecticides with active ingredients like cartaphydrochloride and profenofos were effective against thrips. Spraying trees with plant growth regulator (PGR) could also reduce the incidence of blossom blight compared with multiple sprays of fungicide and could provide a higher average yield per tree.

It was learned that auxin, cytokinin, gibberellic acid, and salicylic acid were the PGRs used in the study. In vitro and in vivo bioassay tests of different biofungicides against blossom blight, scab, anthracnose, and stem end rot were also conducted. However, the results are yet to be completed.

A national survey conducted in at least eight major mango growing areas of the Philippines, which was completed, is expected to provide information as foundation of “best bet” management guidelines. The study is linked with the previous ACIAR-PCAARRD mango projects.

One of these projects showed that the adoption of sustainable IPM practices could improve quality and yield of mango and could increase farmers’ income by about 156 percent. The researchers said that this innovation is expected to benefit the country’s 2.5 million smallholder mango farmers.

This story appeared in Agriculture Monthly’s April 2017 issue.