In cooperation with the Philippine Mango Industry Foundation Inc. (PMIFI) and Department of Agriculture (DA), the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte (PGIN) and Ilocos Norte Federation of Mango Producers Association Inc. (INFMPAI) hosted the 18th National Mango Congress and Summit Workshop held on March 14-17 in Laoag City.

PMIFI is a national organization composed of 40 associations and cooperatives and 16 individual and corporate members who gather regularly to address obstacles to the Philippine mango industry.

This year’s theme was “Seizing Climate Change Opportunities for the Mango Industry and Breaking Down Market Menace through Empowered Mango Stakeholders Associations Backed by Sustainable Policies and Strategies.”

Ms. Jeniffer E. Remoquillo, High Value Crops Development Program (HVCDP) assistant national program director and representative of DA Secretary Proceso J. Alcala, said that the theme emphasizes the need for policies geared towards environmental challenges and strengthening linkages between the private and public sectors “para sa institusyonalisasyon ng mga polisiya at programang nakabatay sa reyalidad ng ating kapaligiran.”

According to Alcala’s written message, up to 188.42 hectares of land were planted with mango trees nationwide, with production reaching 902.7 metric tons in the past year, which signifies a six-percent increase in production.

Senator Ferdinand “Bong Bong” Marcos Jr. through a message read by Ilocos Norte Vice Governor Eugenio Angelo M. Barba shared, “Naniniwala ang Ilocos Norte sa kalahagan ng pagsasanib-puwersa ng pamahalaan at ng mga mamamamayan sa pagpapalakas at pagpapalawak ng ating industriya.”

Marcos urged the delegates to rise up to the challenges of climate change and heated competition among international merchants, subsequently uplifting the Philippines in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) integration.
During the two-day Congress held at the Plaza Del Norte and Convention Center in Laoag City, the mango growers and stakeholders discussed and participated in fora on topics including mango processing technology, the supply of flower inducers, organic production, and better harvest and product presentation practices.

Ms. Virginia I. De La Fuente, PMIFI president, declared, “We are very positive that we will be able to level up the prices of any farm produce, especially in Ilocos Region and Region Three.”

During the welcome dinner party dubbed “Governor’s Night” at the Malacañang of the North on March 15, Governor Imee R. Marcos said, “The mango industry, until today, remains the iconic symbol of the Philippines… It’s urgent that we finally address the problems of our industry far away from the politics, the financing, and the many scams that have been alleged.”

She pushed for a focus on planters, processors, and “the almost endless potential that mangoes and the industry can provide for our country.” (PGIN-CMO)