Pest drops mango harvest in Pangasinan
STA. BARBARA, PANGASINAN —For the fifth straight year, mango production in Pangasinan province has suffered a devastating blow due to cecid flies.
“This is the worst year for us. Our production decreased by 80 percent because of the infestation,” said Lito Arenas, former president of the Federation of Mango Growers and Handlers Association of Pangasinan.
Cecid larvae burrow and consume mango fruits. Young fruits fall while mature ones acquire black circular marks, which are unattractive to consumers.
Cecid flies first infested mangoes in the province in 2012, leaving growers with almost nothing to sell. At present, mangoes are sold for as much as P120 a kilogram.
According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, mango harvest had decreased by 15,552.78 metric tons from 2012 to 2015.
At the present farm gate price of P90 a kg, the province’s mango industry had lost about P1.4 billion in the last five years.
In 2005, Pangasinan was the leading mango producer, supplying 43.5 percent of the country’s total mango production. Growers in the province produce the “carabao” variety, which is said to be the world’s sweetest.
In 2015, after three years of cecid flies infestation, the province’s share in mango production had gone down to 23.9 percent, its lowest in 10 years.
Unless the national government intervenes, mango production in the province will continue to plummet and the industry will collapse, according to Arenas. —GABRIEL CARDINOZA
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