Cartoon by Roni Santiago
Cartoon by Roni Santiago

Mango growers in the Philippines and Filipino consumers in the US have one good reason to be elated these days. It is the good news that more shipments of Philippine mangoes are coming to the United States.

Previously, only Philippine mangoes produced in Guimaras Province, an island in Western Visayas, were allowed to be imported to the U.S. by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) because these are free of the pest called weevil (Sternochetus mangiferae Fabricius). Weevil develops in mango seeds and as such can be transported unnoticed from one locality to another.

Josyline Javelosa, agriculture attache at the Philippine Embassy in Washington, D.C., said a new USDA decision opens the door to the export market for mangoes produced in Ilocos Norte, Pangasinan, Isabela, Batangas and Tarlac, all in Luzon; Cebu and Iloilo in the Visayas; and Zamboanga del Norte, North Cotabato and Davao del Sur in Mindanao.

Before the issuance of the USDA ruling, only Philippine mangoes grown in Guimaras can be exported to US mainland. Mangoes, which were produced in other areas and which were suspected to have weevils, can be exported only to Guam and Hawaii.

Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. welcomed the USDA announcement, saying this can pave the way for more mango imports from the Philippines.

“The decision to expand the list of allowable mango-producing areas to export to the US to almost the entire Philippines can be expected to result in more investments in the sector and, at the same time, encourage new entrants to allow domestic production to fully satisfy demand,” Cuisia said.

He said the USDA ruling should also be of interest to other countries eyeing the Philippines as a source of mango supply. The USDA had declared that the country is largely weevil-free, and this has come as a result of an extensive survey conducted in 79 provinces.

Cuisia noted that the Philippine mango is known worldwide for its superior taste.

This new development is greatly beneficial to the mango growers in our homeland, who can now look up to mangoes as another good source of income. If exported to the US, the mangoes would certainly give them additional earnings, which could translate to better standards of living.

That the Philippine carabao mango is much sweeter than those produced in other countries should make it saleable here in the US. This should also allow it to command a premium price.

Filipinos here in the US certainly welcome this development as they have long craved for Philippine mangoes, and this is expected to lead to a high demand.

But the Philippine government should see to it that only quality mangoes are exported. It should also ensure that the principal beneficiaries of mango exports are the growers themselves, not the traders.

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