Rita T. dela Cruz
Farmers from Brgy. Tiblawan in Governor Genoroso, Davao Oriental found means to improve their economic conditions and to contribute in the production of Carabao mangoes in Region 11. Planting mangoes offers a bright future for the farmers and the community in Tibalawan because as the mango trees grow older, they produce more and better quality fruits resulting to high income.
This was made possible through a Community-based Participatory Action Research (CPAR) on Mango Production funded by the Bureau of Agricultural Research and implemented by the Southern Mindanao Integrated Agricultural Research (SMIARC) in cooperation with the Municipal Local Government Unit (MLGU) of Sta. Maria.
An export variety, Carabao mangoes (Mangifera indica L.) are native to the Philippines and are known worldwide for the quality of its taste and distinct sweetness. But as good as it is, Carabao mangoes are also the most complex fruit crop to cultivate. Hence, at least 20-30 percent of farmers who venture in Carabao mango farming are not able to get their investments back. One of the reasons is due to the lack of know-how on proper cultivation and management. This was specifically addressed through the CPAR on mango production.
CPAR on mango production
Tiblawan, Gov. Generoso is mainly composed of marginalized farming communities whose lands, although arable, are idle and planted mainly for corn. The community's primary source of income is the produce/harvest from the land area that was granted to them which they augment by trying to earn a living from fishing and occasional employment from nearby coconut farmers. Since Tiblawan is outside typhoon belt, the soil and climate are favorable for year round cultivation of agricultural crops including corn and fruits.
The CPAR project on mango production was initiated in Tiblawan in 2005. Mango planting materials were used to distribute to farmer-cooperators.
One major problem that the farmer-cooperators encountered during the implementation was the lack of capital for induction.
To address the problem, a multidisciplinary team of researchers from SMIARC conducted consultations and meetings with the municipal barangay officials (i.e. mayor, MAO, ag technicians) on the approaches and implementing strategies to take.
To better equip the CPAR farmer-cooperators on mango production, researchers and technicians from the local and municipal levels conducted actual technology demonstration on pruning technique, fertilization, flower induction, and fruit bagging.
As cooperators of the project, farmers were provided flower inducers, chemicals, and a Package of Technology (PoT) on mango production. The project provides Carabao grafted mango seedlings and technical assistance. To sustain the project, farmers would have to pay them back once they are established in selling their harvests.
"Now that the project has been turned over to the local government, we the agricultural technicians continue to monitor the project. We continue to provide technical assistance on the proper cultivation and management of mangoes to our farmers," said Porferio Valles, agricultural technicians.
During the onset of the CPAR project, there are four farmer-cooperators; one of the most successful of them is Adelito Caballes.
He narrated: "Before, I used to plant nothing but corn and the income is not that good. I hardly get enough for our daily needs until CPAR came to Tiblawan and I became a farmer-cooperator. They gave us planting materials to start with and now, the mango trees are now bearing the fruit that's providing me a good income for me and my family."
Mang Adelito's hardwork paid off when his long-wait reaped sweet success. His harvest earned him P131, 000 from the 20,000 kilos of mango that he harvested from his three-fourth hectare of land. Soon his coco-lumber house was renovated with concrete house and he was able to send his children to school.
To provide additional income, chicken, sheep and goats were also raised under the mango trees. SMIARC provided Mang Adelito a small herd of sheep to graze and to weed his now growing mango farm.
With the success of the CPAR project on mango production, farmer-members of the Tiblawan Fisherfolk and Farmers Multi-Purpose Cooperative (TIFFARMCO) found ways to contribute to the high demand for mangoes. Today, the coop has 135 farmer-members, 77 of which are CPAR cooperators.
Reference: The Irony of the Carabao Mango Industry in the Philippines from: http://blog.agriculture.ph/tag/the-irony-of-the-carabao-mango-industry-in-the-philippines