By Yvette Tan

Photos courtesy of Jam Melchor

There’s a glut of mangoes in the Luzon market, and a chef has put out a call to help relieve it.

Reports of tons of produce dumped by the side of the road by frustrated farmers who’ve grown too much but have no access to buyers have been a depressing occurrence in social media. Chef and Filipino food advocate Jam Melchor, founder of the Philippine Culinary Heritage Movement, is determined not to let this happen again.

The chef put out a call on Facebook, tagging numerous chefs, restaurateurs, and food advocates in the comments  

The post reads:

“Food industry friends, we need to help our mango farmers! Sweet, velvety, soft and scandalously succulent – we have the best mangoes in the world!

“This season, they are producing about 100 tons per week. One truck can contain 4 tons. They can give it at P25/K if 4 tons ang order. Export grade is at P50/k. You may call DA Main office (AMAS) at (02) 925 3795 so they can link you directly to these mango producers.

“Remember that picture of tons and tons of locally grown tomatoes dumped by farmers in Laguna in a waste dumpsite last year was very troubling. For one, the farmers toiled to grow those tomatoes and now they got nothing for their effort.

“Those tomato farmers figured they have nothing more to lose and decided to keep their pride by dumping their produce instead. That deprived the traders of the opportunity to make their unholy profits at their expense.

“Let us not wait for the time when our farmers will give up on us. It is time to rethink how each of us can help them, even in small ways. #PhilippineMango #SupportourFarmers #LoveLocal #ItsmorefuninthePhilippines #PreserveFilipinoFood

“PLEASE SHARE and HELP SPREAD THE WORD.“

Melchor found out about the excess supply of Manila mangoes and expoort quality carabao mangoes mangoes because he received a message from the Department of Agriculture asking for help in connecting farmers to key players in the food industry.

The post, Melchor says, hopes to “at least to link this farmers directly to the potential buyers or consumers avoiding traders.“ 

There is such an excess. of mangoes that, “Some mango farmers in Northern Luzon are giving it away for free because of oversupply.“

He added that Guimaras mangoes are more expensive, averaging about Php150 per kilo in Manila because of transportation expenses.  Meanwhile, mangoes that come from areas in Luzon can fetch as low as Php 25-50 per kilo because transportation costs less.

It’s important for farmers to figure out who they’re going to sell their produce to even before they plant the first seed.

Melchor stressed the importance of farmers needing to think about how to sell their product before planting. “Farmers needs to coordinate with the Department of Agriculture’s marketing services so they can help them look for potential buyers ahead of time or before harvesting. Not after harvesting. This will be very difficult because, mango’s life span is only three to four days.“

Anyone can help local farmers. “Buy directly from farmers and for restaurants and food businesses, use what’s in season,“ Melchor says.

Interested parties can call the Department of Agriculture’s main office at (02) 925 3795.