Samal mangoes now ready to enter Aussie market
SWEET mangoes from the Island Garden City of Samal (Igacos) may soon enter the discriminating Australian market after meeting phytosanitary conditions for export, according to an Aussie expat.
“We are expecting this to happen,” said John Oakeshott, Philippines Horticulture Program manager of the Australian Center for International Agricultural Research (Aciar), at the groundbreaking of the P10 million mango packaging facility in Peñaplata District.
The centralized sorting/ packing house will serve as a centralized packing shed for the growers to process all mangoes harvested on the Island for domestic and export markets.
The Department of Agriculture provided an initial amount of P1 million to start the project, with counterparts coming from the provincial government of Davao del Norte and the Igacos government.
Oakeshott said the packing facility will be a big boost to the phytosanitary measures and strick quarantine system that has kept the island city free from mango pulp weevil and seed weevil since two years ago.
He is hopeful fresh mangoes from Samal will eventually gain entry into the market down under in the near future, with the widely anticipated positive results of the final review conducted by Biosecurity Australia in 2011,
Biosecurity Australia is an agency that provides science based quarantine assessments and policy advice to protect the Australian agricultural industry.
“Hopefully, fresh mangoes from Samal will soon be allowed to enter the australian market,” Oakeshott stated.
Governor Rodolfo del Rosario is also optimistic the sector will finally get the nod of the Australian market sooner, that would spell more economic activities and job opportuniuties for the island folks.
The governor, who started the mango ‘ craze’ when he distributed thousands of mango seedlings in the island in 1984 during his stint then as an assemblyman, said this would be a big step for the Igacos.
He asked all the land owners in the island to turn their idle and unproductive lands into mango production areas.
“I want to see Samal become a mango island, more than a resort island,” he stressed.
He said mango is the best crop for the island due to its calcareous soil and its being a natural biosecurity barrier for mango pests and diseases.
Samal island, which allocates about 5,000 hectares for mango production, was groomed by the Australian government, through Aciar, to become a mango value chain model.
Since 2004, the aid program has funded research projects in the island, particularly on mango pest and disease management, as well as, improvements through the supply chain in fruit harvesting, packing and handling.