“Why does it always have to be apples and oranges?”
Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala on Thursday urged Filipinos to patronize local fruits instead of imported ones this holiday season to give local growers a break.
“I’m appealing to the public to buy local fruits. It doesn’t always need to be apples, oranges and grapes,” he said in an interview.
The holidays usually see an influx of apples, oranges and grapes from abroad, although grapes are locally available.
Alcala said the superstitious belief that having round fruits on the dinner table brings good luck and prosperity is a good opportunity for Filipinos to show their support for the local fruit industry.
Filipinos could use indigenous fruits like pomelo, guava, atis, duhat, rambutan, santol, melon, calamansi, lanzones and chico to grace their tables.
If they want oranges, citrus fruits from Central Luzon and Bukidnon are available, he said. Grapes are grown in Bulacan, Rizal, Cavite and other provinces.
Other fruits that would spread holiday cheer are durian, pineapple, langka or jackfruit and mango.
The Philippines is a major producer of bananas, mangoes and pineapples which are exported to Japan, South Korea, China and the United States.
But according to the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) major fruit crops third quarter bulletin—which tracks the production of bananas, mangoes, pineapples and calamansi—this sector barely grew.