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Feature: Technical knowledge needed by fruit farmers to achieve full potential

by RG Alama

Davao City (14 January) -- Stating that Mindanao fruit production has great potentials for expansion, Larry Miculob, treasurer and board of trustees of the Mindanao Fruit Council said that fruit farmers still has much to learn on technical knowledge in order to maximize their yield.

Rating the farmers to about 20 to 30% in terms of knowledge, Miculob says the lack of knowledge is seen as an obstacle in increasing the production yields of their fruits.

Currently farmers are only harvesting about 20 to 25% out of the total production potential. He said infrastructure like irrigation facilities and technical support are needed by these farmers.

Guesting at yesterday's (Jan. 13) Club 888 media forum at Marco Polo Davao, Miculob bared that Region XI is Mindanao's top producer of fruits with its banana, pineapple, mango, pomelo plantations. He says the market is growing particularly overseas where countries in Europe and the Middle East are looking in Southeast Asia as a major supplier of their fruits.

"They are looking now at Mindanao to supply their demand especially with what is happening in Luzon where it is frequented by typhoons," Miculob said. He added that the country's fruit production is lagging behind many of their neighboring Asian countries.

He said that added knowledge for farmers is very important particularly with the expanding market and the onset of climate change which has altered cropping seasons. One effect of climate change, Miculob says is that dry and wet seasons are no longer normally occuring.

And with it they are expecting that fruit production will no longer normal. He cited where farmers and growers are expecting bumper fruit production in March to April when normally that is the time of the year when there are no such yields.

He says small fruit growers are likely to be affected by the onset of El Niņo.

Miculob narrated his experience where El Niņo in the early 90s nearly wiped out his newly-planted durian trees. Anticipating the second El Niņo in the mid 1990s, he came prepared with a modular irrigation system which helped him staved off the dry spell. (PIA XI) [top]

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