Zambales Mango Festival gets green light

IBA, Zambales–Zambales, known for producing some of the world’s sweetest mangoes, marks another milestone this week when it plays host to the 15th National Mango Congress, an annual convention of stakeholders in the country’s mango industry.

Gov. Hermogenes Ebdane Jr. said this is the first time that the mango congress would be held in Zambales, which hopes to be a major player in the regional mango trade.

The congress will be held on March 20-22 at the Ramon Magsaysay Technological University convention center here. At the same time, the 13th Zambales Mango Festival will be held until Sunday, March 24, at the Zambales Sports Complex, also in this town.

Ebdane said the congress is an important step to revitalize the local mango industry and realize its full potential.
“Mango production is undoubtedly a major industry in Zambales and, in fact, our produce is now known worldwide as one of the sweetest and most delicious. Yet we have lagged somewhat in terms of production and marketing in the previous decades,” Ebdane said.

“We hope to change that and put Zambales on top of the industry under this administration,” he added.
Evelyn Grace, president of the Zambales Mango Growers Association, meanwhile expressed pride that Zambales got the chance to host an event that has eluded the province for quite some time.

“We have tried to bid twice to host the Mango Congress under the previous governors, but lack of facilities and financial support bogged us down,” Grace explained.

She added that the this year’s congress is very significant to mango producers in the country because it will focus on various means to increase mango farming income by stabilizing domestic prices through mango tourism and by synchronized mango production and efficient handling system.

The congress will also highlight topics on disease control, use of appropriate and safe pesticides, and the campaign towards organic mango production.

Grace also said that experts will be on hand to speak on pest control and technology to make mangoes more resistant to diseases like the locally-known “batiktik”. Speakers will also discuss policy proposals on how to protect the industry in relation to international trade; on how to market mangoes, from handling and packaging to promotion and selling; and how to better care for orchards through proper nutrition and pruning.

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