BY PATRICIA BIANCA S. TACULAO

In the Philippines, mangoes are a high-value commercial crop that provides a livelihood for nearly 2.5 million farmers. Seeing as how many Filipino farmers rely on mango production and the demand of their consumers, stakeholders from the government invested in the technology that helps boost mango production. 

The first virtual Farms and Industry Encounters through Science and Technology Agenda (FIESTA) highlighted such advancements in Philippine mango production while bringing together farmers from all over the country. It will run from December 3, 9 to 10, and 16 to 17, 2021. 

It is spearheaded by Southern Mindanao Agriculture Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development Consortium (SMAARRDEC) in collaboration with the Visayas Consortium for Agriculture Aquatic and Natural Resources Program (ViCARP) and the SOCCSKSARGEN Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development Consortium (SOXAARRDEC). 

“Science and technology play a vital role in advancing sustainable agriculture. The invention or development of new technologies has greatly impacted the AANR (Agriculture, Aquatic, and Natural Resources) sector by helping our farmers in terms of lessening manual operations or work,” said the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Fortunato de la Peña. 

FIESTA was conceptualized by the DOST-PCAARRD (Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic, and Natural Resources Research and Development) and has been raising awareness about the role of science and technology in agriculture since 2014.  

De la Peña added that FIESTA aims to show the complete sphere of research and development as it tackles the entire agricultural value chain as a whole. 

Aside from raising awareness about the available technologies on farming, DOST-PCAARRD invested around P15 million for the development of ready-for-commercialization technologies which will be implemented in regions 8, 11, and 12. 

Some of the implemented and ready-for-commercialization technologies on mango production include Molecular Markers for Mango Cultivar Identification and Genetic Characterization of University of Southern Philippines (USM), the Dipstick Kit to Detect True-To-Type Philippines Carabao Mango of Visayas State College (VSU), and the Pre-and Postharvest Technologies of the University of Southeastern Philippines (USeP).

These new advancements are eyed to enhance productivity and provide solutions to some of the pressing issues in the Philippine mango industry. These projects were also funded with the ultimate goal of elevating the livelihood of small-scale mango farmers using low-cost technologies that span the different parts of mango production from planting to harvesting to processing and packaging.