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PMSFC modernizing mango farming in PHILIPPINES

20 May 2014 

Written by Rizal Raoul Reyes


PHILIPPINE Mango Seedling Farm Corp. (PMSFC) owner Roger Cruz Jr. believes mango farming is fun and productive as long it is done the right way.

“Planting mango is profitable if you know how to the implement the proper techniques,”
he said. 

Cruz started the business when he was designated by the family to take over the mango farm upon the demise of his father in 2001. 

His job was to manage the 7-hectare mango farm planted with 800 trees. The PMSFC is in the border of Candaba, Pampanga and Baliuag, Bulacan

Practically, Cruz had to go to the farm to oversee the operations and management. With the infusion of new blood, so to speak, Cruz planned to inject new ideas and techniques in managing the mango orchard.

“I’ve told the workers that we have to grow more quality produce to remain competitive in the market,” he said.

“Naturally, I had to deal with the traditional believers that old methods will still work as proven in the past. I had to convince them these are different times,”
Cruz added.

Part of the job as the top honcho of PMSFC is to do research on mango farming. He admitted his research subject in De La Salle University under the famous mentor Dr. Tereso Tullao Jr. helped a lot in implementing the proper methods and techniques in researching all about mango farming and production. 

Later, he met some people connected with the National Mango Research Development Center based in Guimaras, who informed him that they can help him in his business. He formed a partnership with the institute to provide lectures and hands-on training to the PMSFC staff.

“The workers benefited a lot from their stint at the center. Further, it also served as a recreation for the majority as it was their first time to see Guimaras and experience air travel,”
Cruz said. 

During his stay in the institute, Cruz learned that mangoes are not created equal and the carabao variety is the most popular in the market. He added the carabao type has 14 strains that produce quality fruits.

“They told me that inbreeding among the different mango varieties results in the development of several varieties like pico and the Indian variety,”
he said. 

“I also learned that the best mango is the one that is matamis magbunga, masipag magbunga at malaki magbunga.”

To be able to break into the export market, mango-seedling growers need to ensure there is quality in their fruits when harvest season arrives. He said the PMSFC had to undergo different levels of rigorous evaluations to get the Department of Agriculture (DA)-certified planting-material tag.

Since mango is one of the country’s top fruit exports, the PMSFC is doing its part to spread awareness to mango farmers to change their methods so they can get higher income. “This is one of our advocacies. We want to change the mindset of the farmers so they can improve their lives,” he said.

PMSFC is a wholesale nursery producing “carabao” mango seedlings primarily for mango orchard, various conservation/education programs and reforestation projects. 

It specializes in growing carabao mango seedlings and supplies five commercially recognized varieties for the farm orchard: GES 73, GES 77, GES 84, GES 85 and Talaban.

He said part of the advocacy is to urge mango farmers to professionalize the management of their farms. At the PMSFC, Cruz said he has deployed professional nurserymen, who are trained and committed to grow mango seedlings from a superior seed source.

Cruz said the country has its work cut out to boost its mango production. For instance, Australia produces 25 tons per hectare compared to the 5.8 tons per hectare here.

“If you don’t evolve, you would be left behind. Educating the farmers is the only way to do it,”
he said.

PMSFC is also active in its other advocacy programs, such as the “Education for a Sustainable Future” through a school-based environmental awareness program called “Educating toward a Better Shade of Green.” The program was conceptualized to promote environmental awareness through the eyes of the country’s future—the youth. It is a school-wide tree-planting program where all students, regardless of age or grade level, can participate in planting and managing their own fruit-bearing tree.

The program has a hands-on approach to environmental education in order to foster student participation and ownership. Planting and caring for a seedling tree can help young people learn about the natural world and the value of trees in it.

Further, PMSFC is offering carabao mango seedlings at a discounted price of $1 per seedling for each student-participant in this program. The participating school’s role and effort to help promote environmental awareness will be cited by PMSFC. It is willing to award half of the proceeds to the implementing school, which they, in turn, could utilize to improve existing school infrastructure or redirect to other development projects they may wish to undertake.

The seedlings are non-grafted mango seedlings and are approximately 2 to 3 feet tall. Mango seedlings will be delivered directly to the participating schools depending on the date agreed upon with school officials.

PMSFC believes that the program not only helps the schools in promoting environmental literacy of the Filipino youth but also indirectly provides a source of income for communities, who would become eventual recipients of the produce of these mango seedlings.

“Around 2.5 million [people] benefit directly and indirectly from the industry,”
Cruz said. 

In Photo: One of Philippine Mango Seedling Farm Corp.’s mango farms.

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