Major expansion eyed in Mindanao avocado, jackfruit production

THE Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) is planning for a large-scale expansion in the production of avocado and jackfruit, tapping 200,000 hectares of upland areas.

“Over the next five years, MinDA will target 100,000 hectares for each of the two crops… and (generate) estimated earnings of $2 billion every year,” Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol said in a statement on Friday.

“These two crops will be introduced as agro-industrial commodities in commercial scale and volume, instead of just backyard fruit trees for family consumption.”

The proposal is part of the Mindanao Greening Program, which aims to develop agricultural industries while rehabilitating and protecting the highlands from denudation.

MinDA will host a virtual conference on May 17 to discuss the plan.

Among the expected participants are Mindanao representatives of national agencies, farmers’ cooperatives, government financing institutions, and multinational and domestic companies such as Dole Philippines, Inc. and Dizon Farms, which can serve as consolidators and buyers.

The specific varieties being considered are the Hass avocado and the Abuyog Sweet jackfruit.

“The Hass avocado is a premium fruit which Japan and China import from the US and South America which Philippine agriculture had not ventured into because of the absence of planting materials,” Mr. Piñol said.

The jackfruit, meanwhile, has not been paid attention to despite “huge demand in food processing,” he said. — Marifi S. Jara

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