PHILIPPINES- AUSTRALIA MANGO PROJECT YIELDS GOLD FOR FARMERS
Australian Embassy Deputy Head of Mission with Davao del Norte Governor Anthony G. del Rosario and Atty Leo Dominguez visited the Australian Government supported mango research project on Samal Island on 22 May. They met smallholder mango farmers who are reaping benefits from a joint Philippine-Australia agriculture project.
A team of Australian and Filipino researchers have been working together to develop crop management techniques to improve mango yield in the southern Philippines. Mango growers face high pest and disease pressure, trees with a fast growing canopy that require constant maintenance, year-round high rainfall, and high costs of inputs. These conditions make it very challenging to grow a profitable high quality crop with high yields.
The Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) provided A$1.1 million grant funding to a 4-year project which passed on farming technology that improved mango quality and size for Davao farmers like Oscar Cueva.
As part of ACIAR’s support, Cueva and other farmers attended hands-on training on cropping and postharvest management. “This project taught us techniques like how to manage the canopy of mango trees to produce more fruits,” shared Cueva.
Apart from the training, the provincial government is also assisting members of the Samal Island Mango Coop (SIMMCO) to explore opportunities to export mangoes. Dr Ana Notarte, Provincial Agriculturist of Davao Del Norte said, “We are demonstrating to small-scale growers how best-bet practices could improve production and income - so that they can take care of their trees themselves and reap the benefits.” Dr Notarte is also an alumna of the ACIAR John Dillon Fellowship.
In 2016, Australia and the Philippines signed an amended version of Australia-Philippines Specific Commodity Understanding (SCU) that expanded the export market for Philippine mangoes. The agreement builds on a 2013 agreement which created export opportunities for mango farmers in Guimaras, Samal Island and Davao del Sur.
“Agriculture is a shared agenda of Australia and the Philippines. It drives food security, poverty reduction and economic growth. We support the Philippine Government’s initiatives, especially to help farmers increase productivity and build their capacity to trade and gain better access to markets,” Mr Kimberley said.
“This visit reinforces Australia’s support through ACIAR to sustain collaborative partnerships that deliver science-based solutions to challenges farmers face,” Mr Kimberley added. ACIAR’s mango project works with Philippine scientists from the University of Southern Mindanao and University of Philippines Los Banos and the Provincial Government of Davao del Sur and Davao del Norte.
Mr Kimberley visited Samal Island as part of the annual Philippines-Australia Friendship Day celebration. The Davao City Government declared 21 to 27 May as Philippines-Australia Friendship Week in recognition of the enduring friendship between the two countries.
Philippines-Australia Friendship Week is presented by the Australian Embassy in partnership with the Davao City Government, SM Lanang, Qantas and the Australia Global Alumni.
For more information on Philippines – Australia Friendship Day celebration, visit www.philippines.embassy.gov.au. Like Australia in the Philippines on Facebook and follow @AusAmbPH on Twitter, @AusEmbPH on Instagram.
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