Tar­get­ing the AEC mar­ket for Ph ex­otic fruits

Agriculture - - Contents - BY ZAC B. SAR­IAN

THE PHILIP­PINES is a small pro­ducer of ex­otic fruits that in­clude durian, Longkong lan­zones, pum­melo, and man­gos­teen com­pared to Thai­land, Malaysia, and In­done­sia. How­ever, that did not de­ter a lo­cal fruit ex­pert from aim­ing at cap­tur­ing a share of the ex­otic fruit mar­ket in the ASEAN Eco­nomic Com­mu­nity (AEC). The fel­low is Dr. Pablito P. Pam­plona, a re­tired fruit ex­pert from the Univer­sity of South­ern Min­danao who is now de­vot­ing his full time to nurs­ery op­er­a­tions as well as com­mer­cial pro­duc­tion of ex­otic fruits, rubber, and oil palm.

He re­cently went to Thai­land and Malaysia as an ini­tial step in ob­serv­ing the na­ture of the ex­otic fruits mar­ket in the ASEAN. One of the things he wants to find out is the sea­son or sea­sons when the peak of pro­duc­tion oc­curs in the dif­fer­ent coun­tries that pro­duce the ex­otic fruits.

As of now, ma­jor ex­otic fruit pro­duc­ers are Thai­land, Malaysia, Viet­nam, and In­done­sia. Why the need to know the sea­sons when the dif­fer­ent coun­tries pro­duce their ex­otic fruits? Well, so that grow­ers in the Philip­pines can time the fruit­ing of their trees through cul­tural man­age­ment and other strate­gies. The pur­pose is to pro­duce the sup­ply when no other coun­try is do­ing so.

It is well known that the fruit trees bear fruit at dif­fer­ent times in dif­fer­ent coun­tries due to cli­matic dif­fer­ences. Usu­ally, fruit trees can be in­duced to bear flow­ers by sub­ject­ing them to drought con­di­tions for a month or two and then ad­e­quately ir­ri­gat­ing them. Of course, the trees have to be ad­e­quately nour­ished with bal­anced fer­til­iz­ers. Drip ir­ri­ga­tion can also help in pro­duc­ing boun­ti­ful fruits.

Dr. Pam­plona be­lieves that the Philip­pines can pro­duce Longkong, pum­melo, durian, and man­gos­teen for ex­port to the AEC. What is needed is to ex­pand the area to be

planted to th­ese crops. Longkong, a va­ri­ety from Thai­land, has been proven to have adapted to lo­cal con­di­tions. In fact, if Longkong can be pro­duced in big vol­umes, the lo­cal mar­ket is also a good mar­ket. And this should mo­ti­vate farm own­ers to plant more Longkong.

Pum­melo is an­other very pos­si­ble ex­port to the AEC. The Ma­gal­lanes va­ri­ety can be at par with or even bet­ter than the best va­ri­eties from Thai­land and China. What is im­por­tant is to in­crease pro­duc­tion and main­tain high qual­ity through the use of the right fer­til­iz­ers and pro­tec­tion from pests and dis­eases.

Dr. Pam­plona is re­ally se­ri­ous in pur­su­ing his dream of pro­mot­ing ex­otic fruits from the Philip­pines to the for­eign mar­ket. In fact, he is now pre­par­ing a pa­per on the op­por­tu­ni­ties to ex­pand pro­duc­tion of pum­melo and Longkong in the coun­try.

Aside from Ma­gal­lanes pum­melo, there are other va­ri­eties that can be pro­duced in the Philip­pines. One is the Milo Mas, which Dr. Pam­plona in­tro­duced ear­lier from Malaysia. The young fruits have fine hairs which dis­cour­age in­sect in­fes­ta­tion. It is also claimed to be non-site-spe­cific, mean­ing it can per­form well in many places in the Philip­pines.

An­other va­ri­ety that he is ex­cited about is the Nam Roi from Viet­nam, a white-fleshed va­ri­ety that is Viet­nam’s ma­jor va­ri­ety. As per his ex­pe­ri­ence, Nam Roi does very well in his own farm. And that is why he is de­vel­op­ing an­other three hectares to this va­ri­ety.

Durian is an­other ex­otic fruit that can be pro­duced in the Philip­pines. What is im­por­tant is to pro­duce a few well-se­lected va­ri­eties in big vol­ume. This will sim­plify ex­port­ing. Ex­port­ing one va­ri­ety with very good qual­ity is much sim­pler than ex­port­ing many fruits of var­i­ous traits.

Man­gos­teen can also be pro­duced for the ex­port mar­ket. The fruits are not only prized for their su­perb taste; they and other parts of the tree are said to have medic­i­nal at­tributes.

GOVERN­MENT SUP­PORT – The govern­ment can do a lot to sup­port the in­dus­try. This could be in terms of poli­cies that will en­cour­age farm­ers to go into ex­otic fruit pro­duc­tion. The govern­ment should also un­der­take ini­tia­tives to pro­mote the Philip­pine ex­otic fruits in the for­eign mar­ket. It could help set up posthar­vest fa­cil­i­ties that will en­sure high qual­ity of the fruits for the lo­cal and for­eign mar­kets.

More re­search by govern­ment sci­en­tists should be un­der­taken on var­i­ous aspects of the in­dus­try. Spe­cial fi­nanc­ing should also be made avail­able for peo­ple who are go­ing into ex­otic fruit pro­duc­tion. In other words, the govern­ment should give as much at­ten­tion to ex­otic fruit pro­duc­tion as it does to rice and corn.- ZAC B. SAR­IAN

Thai durian in the whole­sale mar­ket. Philip­pine durian should be pro­duced at a time that will not co­in­cide with the peak har­vest in Thai­land.

Pum­melo at the Talad Thai Mar­ket in Thai­land.

This lo­cally-pro­duced durian has su­pe­rior eat­ing qual­ity.

Ma­gal­lanes pum­melo can com­pare well with the best va­ri­eties from other coun­tries.

Longkong, the lan­zones va­ri­ety from Thai­land, also grows well in the Philip­pines.

Lus­cious Philip­pine man­gos­teen.

Im­ported durian va­ri­ety grown in the Philip­pines.

Fruit­ing man­gos­teen at the farm of Dr. Pablito Pam­plona in Cotabato.

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