ACIAR Mango Crop Management in the Philippines and Australia Impacts smallholder farmers.

ACIAR team photo at the final meeting of the Mango Integrated Crop Management in the Philippines & Australia project.

The successful ACIAR project, research and development of Integrated crop management for mango production in southern Philippines and Australia (HORT/2012/019) concluded with a final research workshop in Davao, the Philippines in late May 2018.

Collaborators came together from DAF Queensland, University of Southern Mindanao, University of Philippines, University of Southeastern Philippines, Southern Philippines Marine and Aquatic School of Technology and the Provincial Agriculturist Offices of Davao del Norte and Davao del Sur to review the results, impacts and next steps for mango research. The main aim of the project was to develop and improve integrated pest and disease management, nutrition, pruning and canopy management practices to deliver improvements in livelihoods for mango growers in the region.

The project extension leader, Dr Geoff Dickinson (DAF Queensland), commented the communication of mango best practice to growers was achieved through the formation of farmer clusters in the Davao del Norte and Davao del Sur regions of Mindanao. Over 185 mango growers attended training workshops conducted four times throughout the season. The local researcher’s responsible for the organisation and workshop facilitation were Dr Ana Notarte and Ms Julia Sagolili from the Philippine Provincial Agriculturist Offices. The outcomes delivered significant improvements in practices directly related to mango crop management. One of the major changes evidenced by growers has been the recognition that significant canopy pruning is essential to maintain high productivity in younger orchards, or the reinvigoration of older, unproductive orchards. Improvements in grower understanding of pest biology, particularly cecid fly and thrips has led to major changes in pest management and pesticide application practices. The project outcomes have proved that thrips are resistant to the conventionally registered broad-spectrum insecticides and are exacerbating the current pest problems.

The project leader, Dr Ian Newton (DAF Queensland), contended the project partnership between mango research, development and extension institutions from the Philippines and Australia had faced a number of challenges over the four-year life of the project. He whole heartedly believed the project had produced significant outcomes and recommendations that will significantly improve the livelihoods of over 6000 smallholder mango farmers in southern Philippines in over the coming years.