Off season calamansi production in Victoria, Oriental Mindoro

Tokyo University of Agriculture introduced off season production of calamansi in Victoria, Mindoro
March 29, 2019

The Tokyo University of Agriculture (Tokyo NODAI) has introduced the off season production of calamansi in Victoria, Oriental Mindoro as part of helping expand jobs and beef up Philippines’ calamansi export.

A technology on pruning and the use of plant growth regulators in order to delay the harvest of calamansi have been employed in a pilot calamansi production in Victoria.

With such techniques, harvest can become year-round. This will enable farmers to enjoy a higher income from the high value crop. Production will not be available in just a single season, peaking to a high volume and causing prices to collapse.

It also raises potential to expand the Philippines’ export of around 170 metric tons (MT) yearly to Hongkong, United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia. Export is in the form of fresh and processed calamansi.

The Mindoro State College of Agriculture & Technology (MinSCAT) led by Dr. Ma. Conception L. Mores, vice president, has coordinated with Tokyo NODAI to identify farm sites for the continuous trial on the off season calamansi technology.

Farmer-cooperators had been tapped to participate in the pilot farming so as to train Filipino farmers.

“The success of these farming technologies in attaining a stable supply of calamansi even during lean months will bring farmers in a better position where they can maximize the economic benefits brought about by higher level of farmgate prices, which in turn raise farm income,” reported Patricia Ann A. Pielago of SEARCA.

The South East Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study & Research in Agriculture (Searca) has partnered with MinSCAT and Tokyo NODAI in this capability building project.

Two types of pruning were employed to delay fruiting: the half and the full pruning of shoots, young flower buds, and fruits.

Basal application of fertilizer solutions using abscissic acid (ABA) and Miyobi Gold, a commercial fertilizer in Japan containing natural type of ABA and potassium were also done to promote and increase flower formation during off-season.

The 2-hectare calamansi demonstration farm owned by calamansi grower Cornelio Palomar in Brgy. Leido, Victoria was the chosen experimental site considering the age (6 years) and height (1 to 2.5 meters) of trees. These fit the required tree characteristics for each treatment.

A total of 30 calamansi trees were purposively selected, tagged, and weeded. These were equally divided into six treatments including the control.

A quarter of a kilogram of fruit samples for each of the 4 maturity stages of calamansi (mature green, breaker, ripe, and over-ripe) were gathered for laboratory analysis to determine the physio-chemical characteristics. That includes ascorbic acid content as part of the fruit quality evaluation.

The export of more processed calamansi (puree, juice) may be expanded by the project.

“The quality evaluation of fruits produced in the area at different ripening stages is expected to aid in determining the suitable maturity stage ideal for processing.”

PHOTO Processed calamansi juice

Dr. Tadashi Baba, Dr. Yoshitaka Kawai, Mika Yoshida from the Department of Agriculture – Postharvest Physiology and Technology of Tokyo NODAI, agreed to replicate their previous joint study on calamansi with the University of the Philippines Los Banos-Post Harvest Technology REsearch Center (UPLB-PHTRC) in Mindoro.

Providing technical assistance and logistical support needed are Dr. Jose Medina and Pielago,SEARCA program coordinator, Dr. Josephine Agravante and Kristelle Marie Ybañez from UPLB-PHTRC.

There will be a systematic way of monitoring, data collection, and proper documentation to analyse the technology’s efficacy.

Export

The country’s calamansi export ranged from 20 to 35 MT in 2008 to 2013 with an average yearly export of 29.5 MT in fresh fruits.

A value chain advantage may be found in processing more fresh fruits.

Studies showed that constraints in calamansi sector’s growth include lack of good-quality calamansi seedlings; high incidence of pests and diseases; declining volume of production; huge postharvest losses; limited access to market; inconsistent quality of processed calamansi products; and low prices during peak season.

There is also lack of resources, skills, knowledge, and experience in collective marketing among calamansi farmers.

The two-year project aims to address these technical and market constraints.
It intends to improve calamansi production and fruit quality by using proven technologies and practices in integrated pest management, fertilization, off-season fruiting, and postharvest handling.

The project will build on the gains of SEARCA’s action research program “Piloting and Upscaling Effective Models of Inclusive and Sustainable Agricultural and Rural Development (PUEM-ISARD) that helped revitalize the calamansi industry of Oriental Mindoro.

SEARCA has been implementing PUEM-ISARD with MinSCAT and the local government units of Oriental Mindoro since 2015.

Calamansi

Calamansi is indigenous to the Philippines. The largest production is in Victoria, Oriental Mindoro.

According to the Department of Agriculture-Philippine Rural Development Program, buyers prefer calamansi from Oriental Mindoro because it has a thicker rind, stronger taste, longer shelf-life, and resists weight loss.

Calamansi, or calamondin, is used primarily as juice, puree, and for souring food.

Production had declined over a 6-year period from 199,675 MT over a land area of 20,956 hectares in 2008 down to 164,050 MT over a land area of 20,246 hectares in 2013.

The decline is due to the greening disease or ”huanglubin’ which decreases yield and causes death of trees, reported the Food and Fertilizer Technology Center (FFTC).

Calamansi is produced primarily from MIMAROPA (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblom, Palawan– 6,872 hectares), Central Luzon (Zambales, Bulacan, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Bataan-1,734ha) and Ilocos Region (1,026ha) in Luzon.

In Mindanao, producers are in Davao Region (1,797 hectares), CARAGA (1,412 hectares) and Zamboanga Peninsula (1,077 hectares).

Yield has been dropping from an average of 9.53MT hectares in 2008 to 8.10 MT in 2013, down to an annual growth rate of -3.18.

A sizable 93% of the volume as of 2013 was used domestically for food and the rest for export.

With production decline, prices has been increasing at P23.13 per kilo in 2013 from only P13.28 per kilo in 2008. End (Growth Publishing for SEARCA).

PHOTO CAPTION
1. Dr. Tadashi Baba (1st from right) and Dr. Yoshitaka Kawai (2nd from right) demonstrating the full-pruning technique as another treatment for off-season fruiting of calamansi
2. Samples of calamansi fruits at different ripening stages subject to quality evaluation (from L-R: over-ripe, ripe, breaker and mature green)
3. Processing calamansi into products like calamansi juice, puree, jam and others will provide added value to calamansi harvests. When there is an oversupply of harvest, the best option is to process them into products of higher value.

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