Written by Jennifer A. Ng / Reporter
Wednesday, 26 August 2009 19:25
MANILA is hopeful that it can begin exporting mangoes outside of Guimaras to the mainland United States in 2010 after it completes a survey of mango-producing areas in the Philippines this month.
The Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI), an attached agency of the Department of Agriculture (DA), disclosed it is now wrapping up its survey of mango-producing areas in the country.
“The survey was supported by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). Based on our initial estimate, wala ng peste sa mangga [our mangoes are not infested],” BPI director Joel Rudinas told reporters in an interview.
Rudinas, however, said the agency has yet to complete its experiments and study on what particular treatment method should be used on local mangoes prior to shipment to mainland US. The study is expected to be completed by next year.
He said the agency will present the findings of the survey and other studies on treatment method to the US government and that the USDA will determine whether the treatment method proposed is acceptable.
“Allowing the entry of mangoes outside of Guimaras may not require extensive discussion or deliberation because the USDA would just have to amend the regulation which allowed the entry of mangoes from Guimaras to the US mainland,” said Rudinas.
Currently, only mangoes grown in Guimaras are allowed to enter the US mainland. In December 2006 the US issued a rule allowing local exporters to ship out mangoes grown anywhere in the Philippines except Palawan to Guam and Hawaii, two US territories.
Local producers from Palawan continue to grapple with pulp-weevil infestation in mangoes, making them unable to ship out their mangoes to the US and its territories.
Shipments originating from approved mango-growing areas in the Philippines other than Guimaras must be labeled “For distribution in Guam and Hawaii only.”
Moreover, mangoes originating from all approved areas in the Philippines must be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate issued by the DA, which contains an additional declaration that the fruits have been treated for fruit flies of the genus Bactrocera.
Figures from the National Statistics Office show that the Philippines exported $19.55 million worth of mango products last year. The figure is 16 percent lower than the $23.28 million worth of mango products exported in 2007.
The Philippines ranks seventh among the world’s top mango-producing countries.