Agriculture - - Strat­egy - BY PABLITO P. PAM­PLONA, PH.D.

SEV­ERAL STUDY TOURS were car­ried out by this au­thor in 2015 and early 2016 in Sin­ga­pore, Malaysia, In­done­sia, Thai­land, and Viet­nam to iden­tify op­por­tu­ni­ties in pro­duc­ing and mar­ket­ing Philip­pine fruits in the ASEAN Eco­nomic Com­mu­nity (AEC).Th­ese study tours were com­ple­mented by the re­view of per­ti­nent pa­pers avail­able on the In­ter­net and other sources on mar­ket­ing and the re­search and de­vel­op­ment (R&D) strate­gies of var­i­ous mem­bers of the AEC for the ex­panded pro­duc­tion and mar­ket­ing of trop­i­cal fruits. The in­for­ma­tion gath­ered re­vealed that there are many op­por­tu­ni­ties that the AEC of­fers in the pro­duc­tion and mar­ket­ing of Philip­pine fruits. The iden­ti­fied op­por­tu­ni­ties maybe grouped thus. First, the Philip­pines has a com­par­a­tive ad­van­tage, ow­ing to its ad­vanced tech­nolo­gies and unique agro­cli­matic con­di­tions in the pro­duc­tion of some fruits like Cavendish and Lakatan ba­nanas, carabao mango,and pum­meloas com­pared to Viet­nam, Malaysia, In­done­sia, and Thai­land. The Philip­pines is al­ready a ma­jor ex­porter of the Cavendish ba­nana but is only a mi­nor ex­porter of carabao mango, and is not an ex­porter of Lakatan ba­nana in AEC coun­tries.

Sec­ond, the dif­fer­ences in the sea­son­al­ity and the oc­cur­rence of sec­ondary fruit­ing for some trop­i­cal fruits in the Philip­pines pro­vides the op­por­tu­nity for th­ese fruit crops to be pro­duced dur­ing the reg­u­lar fruit­ing sea­son in the Philip­pines for ex­port as off-sea­son fruits to other AEC coun­tries as shown in Ta­ble 1.

The flow­er­ing and fruit­ing of trop­i­cal fruits in the Philip­pines is in­flu­enced by both the North­east mon­soon (Oc­to­ber to March) and South­west mon­soon (April to Septem­ber); in Malaysia and In­done­sia, the flow­er­ing and fruit­ing of trop­i­cal fruits is in­flu­enced largely by the South­west mon­soon. Thai­land, on the other hand, is in­flu­enced strongly by the North­east mon­soon and only marginally by the South­west mon­soon.

Third, some fruits may also be pro­duced in the Philip­pines and ex­ported as com­ple­ments of sim­i­lar fruits be­ing pro­duced and ex­ported from Thai­land,

Malaysia, and Viet­nam.

Con­cern­ing the com­par­a­tive ad­van­tage of the Philip­pines, to­day, the best world’s Cavendish ba­nanas are pro­duced in Min­danao due to its unique agro-cli­matic con­di­tions cou­pled with good agri­cul­tural prac­tices (GAP). Af­ter more than 20 years of re­search on ASEAN agriculture, this au­thor is con­vinced that the same unique agro-cli­matic con­di­tions in Min­danao, when cou­pled with GAP, can pro­duce the world’s best Lakatan ba­nana, pum­melo, durian, longkong, man­gos­teen, and other trop­i­cal fruits for the AEC and other mar­kets.

PRO­DUC­TION AND MAR­KET­ING OF TROP­I­CAL FRUITS IN THE AEC Over the last two decades, Thai­land emerged as the largest pro­ducer and ex­porter of trop­i­cal fruits in the AEC and a ma­jor trop­i­cal fruit ex­porter world­wide, with ex­ports val­ued at over US$ 1 bil­lion an­nu­ally. The coun­try achieved this with mas­sive gov­ern­ment sup­port for in­fra­struc­ture, R&D for mod­ern­iza­tion and in­no­va­tive GAP, mar­ket de­vel­op­ment and pro­mo­tion plus the in­dus­try of its farm­ers. The top six fruit com­modi­ties ex­ported from Thai­land are durian, lon­gan, longkong, man­gos­teen, rambu­tan, and mango. The six mi­nor com­modi­ties ex­ported in­clude pum­melo, ly­chee, tan­ger­ine, ba­nana, and pa­paya.

Viet­nam gen­er­ates 50% of its ex­port rev­enues from dragon fruit. It also ex­ports ba­nana,

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