Guimaras mango growers see spike in demand with geographical indication
The Guimaras Mango Growers & Producers Development Cooperative (GMGPDC) is upbeat that the approval of geographical indication (GI) for Guimaras mangoes could further boost the demand for the high-value crop in the country and abroad.
In an interview Monday, GMGPDC president Rosario Griesser said that GI is a quality assurance indicator. It is a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin. In order to function as a GI, a sign must identify a product as originating in a given place.
“When consumers see the GI sticker in their mangoes, they are assured that the fruit is indeed from Guimaras, and has undergone good agricultural practices (GAP) and the code of practice set by the coop,” she said. “If the mangoes are without sticker, meaning it did not follow the code of practice of the coop, among other requirements,” she said.
GAP Certification is an internationally-recognized standard that ensures the food in every consumer’s table came from a trusted source. An export requirement promoted by the Food and Agricultural Organization, it addresses the safety and health concerns of consumers. It focuses on the reduction of risks from pathogens, heavy metals and pesticide contamination and the protection of workers and the environment.
According to the Bureau of Agriculture and Fisheries Standards (BAFS), GAP certification audits all aspects of farming, including the quality of crops, history of farm site and its prior use, type of soil and its compatibility with crops and seed sources, use of pesticides and fertilizers, sources of potable water for irrigation and washing of crops, harvest and post-harvest handling procedures, health and hygiene of farmer and product handlers, among other factors.
BAFS said GAP requires training facilities, safe storage areas, post-harvest infrastructures, paper trail for traceability, etc. GAP certification is free.
Department of Agriculture (DA) data showed only 39 out of the million farms in the country are GAP-certified.
Griesser confirmed that GI for Guimaras Mangoes is in its final stage of approval. She explained that there are specifications as to the size, number of days before the fruit can be harvested, amount of chemicals, labor practices, among others.
Mangoes in Guimaras are known for their distinct sweet-sour taste and less fibrous pulp, and is internationally-certified as free from mango seed and pulp weevils, which is why it is allowed in US and Australia. (PNA)