A better outlook for PH’s fruit industry
COUNTRY’S fruit industry is expected to benefit from at least two projects on banana and mango, which are funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) and the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARRD).
Identified as priority commodities under the Harmonized National R&D Agenda for 2017-2022 and DOST- PCAARRD’s Industry Strategic S&T Program (ISP), banana and mango are among the fruit crops being studied under the “ACIAR-PCAARRD Horticulture Program on Fruits and Vegetables.”
Titled “Integrated management of Fusarium wilt (FW) of bananas in the Philippines and Australia,” the project aims to reduce the impacts of FW and improve the productivity and viability of banana plantations managed by smallholders.
The project’s accomplishments include the identification of mesh wire boot as the most effective scrub in removing soil to limit the spread of disease inoculum; report on the economic feasibility of growing “Giant Cavendish” tissue-culture variant 218 in Foc infested area; and the conduct of the Mindanao-wide banana symposium participated by 140 banana growers and Agricultural Extension Workers.
The second project titled “Research and development of integrated crop management for mango production in the southern Philippines and Australia” intends to reduce product losses due to pests and diseases, decrease inputs costs, and improve quality and yield of mango to increase growers’ profit.
The project’s accomplishments include identification of parasitoids as potential natural enemies of cecid fly; demonstration and training on canopy management in Davao Occidental and Davao del Sur; and conduct of a national survey on “best practices” in nine major mango growing areas in the country.
Accomplishments for the two-year duration of the projects were presented during the end-of-project review in Cebu City by implementing agencies – University of Southern Mindanao, University of Southeastern Philippines, Southern Philippines Agri-business and Marine and Aquatic School of Technology, and Provincial Agriculturists Offices of Davao del Norte and Davao del Sur.
In a related development, improving the yield and quality of jackfruit is also being looked into under a project that aims to develop and implement integrated disease management strategies along with crop management
production. options in jackfruit
The project is again funded by ACIAR and implemented by the Visayas State University (VSU), Bureau of Plant Industry-Davao National Crop Research, Development and Production Support Center, and Department of Agriculture Regional Office 8. Together with ACIAR, the DOST-PCAARRD co-monitors the project. Titled “Tropical tree fruit research and development in the Philippines and Northern Australia to increase productivity, resilience, and profitability,” the project was recently evaluated at the VSU.
One of the project’s components aims to improve the existing vacuum- fried jackfruit chips in Leyte.
This component is an offshoot of the DOST-PCAARRD completed project on “Processing of Jackfruit into High-Value Food Products,” which was also implemented by VSU.
The project is part of the “ACIAR-PCAARRD Horticulture Program on Fruits and Vegetables Phase 2” which aims to improve the livelihoods and food security of smallholder farmers in selected areas of the Visayas and Mindanao. com/ PN)