El Niño, the climatic phenomenon that caused unusually hot, dry weather this year, is associated with the bumper crop. It occurs naturally and has a major influence on global weather patterns.
On the largest Philippine island, Luzon, there is a surplus of about 2,000 tonnes of mangoes, according to Piñol. And the oversupply has led the price to fall from 58 pesos (US1.1) to as low as 20 pesos per kg.
He said the last time mangoes were this abundant was “after the El Niño of 2015 and 2016”.
Piñol’s announcement sent prices falling further, hurting farmers. “We need to do something about this in the next two weeks,” he told the media.
“It’s a good phenomenon for us. The only problem is our farmers weren’t able to immediately coordinate with us that they have expected oversupply and partly the [Department of Agriculture] fell short on monitoring these developments,” he added.
Piñol also blamed a dried mango exporter based in Cebu for contributing to the high stocks after it stopped purchasing domestic mangoes and chose overseas suppliers instead.
His ministry has launched a marketing campaign, which is being called “Metro Mango”, to try to sell 1,000 tonnes of the tropical treat in Metro Manila this month. Stalls selling mangoes are to be put up all around the capital throughout June. The mangoes will cost as little as 25 pesos (38p) per kg if bought in bulk.
Officials have launched mango cooking classes and will be holding a mango festival next week to build excitement and demand for the fruit.
Some farmers in Luzon, where the oversupplies are concentrated, are giving away their mangoes for free, hanging bagfuls at the entrance of their farms.
The Department of Agriculture is due to hold a workshop for Luzon farmers to help improve their standards to enable their mangoes to pass export requirements.
Piñol also said the department would address the high cost of mango production in the Philippines and encourage farmers to branch out into processing and value-added production.
Diamond Star Agro Products, a Japanese fruit importer, has pledged to purchase 100 tonnes of the perishable delight with Piñol saying the authorities were also hoping to increase exports to Hong Kong and Dubai.
There have been questions about the quality of the Philippine mango. Picture credit: Asean Economist