The World Bank evaluated some Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP) projects recently and cited the mango processing facility in Puerto Princesa City as a very promising enterprise that helped uplift the lives of the local farming communities and solved the oversupply problem of mangoes.
During the 10th World Bank Implementation Mission conducted by the PRDP last month, the multilateral financial institution evaluated several projects that it funded. It expressed satisfaction over the newly-opened facility’s performance and achievements.
For the I-REAP component, the South Luzon cluster presented the Mango Processing Facility and Marketing subproject operated by the Tagumpay Agrarian Auto Savings Multi-Purpose Cooperative (TAAS MPC) and implemented by the City Government of Puerto Princesa through the City Project Management and Implementing Unit (CPMIU).
The PRDP said that as part of the evaluation, a step-by-step process of producing dried mangoes was presented. From the selection of raw materials to delivery of end-product to market centers, each stage in the process flow was ensured to follow safety food standards as well as social and environmental safeguards requirements.
The facility is eyed to help solve the mango oversupply in Puerto Princesa City. Located in Sitio Tagumpay, Brgy. Inagawan-Sub, the facility is strategically surrounded by mango growers in nearby plantations in Luzviminda, Mangingisda, in the southern part of the city and Isaub, which is part of Aborlan town to help mango growers to easily bring their harvest to be sold.
The oversupply of mango in Puerto Princesa City and Palawan is mainly attributed to the presence of the mango pulp weevil. The pests infecting mangoes was first discovered in the 1980s in Southern Palawan and have caused the province-wide ban on the export of fresh mango fruits to prevent its spread to the other parts of the country. This greatly affected the income of farmers in the province, particularly in Puerto Princesa where more than one million hectares are planted with mangoes.
Aside from solving the mango oversupply, the facility’s opening likewise provided employment opportunities to the local residents.
One farmer member shared his experience that the presence of the mango processing facility reduced his expenses despite the almost two-kilometer distance from his farm.
He said that their cooperative, TAAS-MPC, buys their produce at the right price and picks up the mangoes using a truck, which allows growers like him to save money intended for the transportation and hauling.
TAAS-MPC members said that the current pandemic brought challenges to their processing facility’s operations, including the delay of the ingredients procured from Metro Manila. In order not delay its operations, they ventured into other processed products such as mango juices which they sell to the local market.
City Agriculturist Melissa Macasaet said that their office collaborated with the United States Agency for International Development’s Strengthening Urban Resilience for Growth with Equity (USAID-SURGE) project which also includes assistance to the TAAS MPC.
She explained that since target markets and processed product marketing are affected due to coronavirus disease (Covid)-19, they strengthened the digital marketing with the assistance the USAID-SURGE to market dried mangoes and other processed products of the cooperative.
Eli Weiss, World Bank Senior Agriculture Economist and Task Team Leader, congratulated the PRDP South Luzon cluster, the City Government of Puerto Princesa through the Puerto Princesa CPMIU, and TAAS MPC, noting that the mango processing facility is a promising enterprise.