Feature: Pangasinan produces sweetest mangoes
By Danny O Sagun
Dagupan City (17 February) -- Looking for the sweetest or tastiest mango? You can find it in Pangasinan.
It was proven in 2005 during a contest for mango-producing provinces from Luzon. The winner was the carabao variety, the entry of mango grower Bert dela Cruz from San Carlos City, said Patricio Evangelista who heads the Federation of Mango Growers and Handlers of Pangasinan, Inc. in a radio interview.
The native carabao mango, also known locally as "kinalabaw," remains the favorite among mango stakeholders - growers, exporters, processors, etc - although there are other varieties that grow well in Pangasinan and serve different markets like the Indian variety, piko, apple and others.
The province is the "runaway winner" insofar as production is concerned, declared Philippine Mango Industry Foundation, Inc. president Virginia dela Fuente, who also graced the radio interview. She said 38 percent of the total mango production in the country-about a billion kilos - comes from Pangasinan.
Aside from the sweetest mango contest, the search for the biggest and that mango with the thinnest seed, was also conducted in that 2005 meet in San Fernando City in La Union, Evangelista said. And the winners of course came from Pangasinan, he proudly told the Pantongtongan Tayo radio program of the Philippine Information Agency over Radyo ng Bayan DZMQ last Tuesday.
This year is the province's turn to host the 12th National Mango Congress to be held February 24-26 at the Narciso Ramos Sports and Civic Center gym. Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap was invited to give the keynote address. The congress will feature lectures, demos and exhibits aimed at improving and stabilizing the billion-peso mango industry.
Dela Fuente said that if so-called mango rejects, which account 10 to 12 percent of the produce, resulting from poor handling during harvest like cracks and bumps are salvaged, mango stakeholders in Pangasinan alone could save P230 million to P400 million per harvest time. Around 46 million kilos are wasted per harvest, she said. "I-multiply lang yan sa P5 per kilo, P230 million na yan," she noted.
The congress seeks to address this major issue, she said, adding that establishing village type processing centers in the province may help address the problem. She bared a plan to rehabilitate or revive the mothballed fruit processing plant in San Carlos City as well as two other inactive plants.
The congress organizers thanked Gov. Amado T. Espino, Jr. for offering free the facilities of the gym and the NRSCC dormitory and the warm reception as well. Around 600 delegates including some 200 from Pangasinan are expected to attend the gathering.
Dela Fuente assured that the event will be meaningful, fruitful and beneficial to all mango stakeholders and to the province as well. A tour to various destinations is also scheduled courtesy of the province's tourist buses. (PIA Pangasinan) [top]