El Niño Inflicts Damage to Mango Production
By Felix B. Daray
One of the commodities, mango fruits, were also affected by the long drought. Last January, the mango trees I induced did not experienced rain from flower induction until it was harvested last April 10. Out of 13,000 pieces of bagged fruits, I harvested only 990 kilos. Many fruit were undersize from 100 to 120 gram. It takes 6 to 7 mangoes per kilo instead 4 to 5 during normal condition. As expected, the production would be more or less 2.5 tons, but only 40% of the expected gross weight was produced. It was the worst production that I ever meet. And because of many undersize fruits, the market price dropped to P30 per kilo. Because of that, many farmers suffered loss of capital.
According to some, El Niño in conducive for flowering stage, so, we can expect more fruits, but the drawback is there is no water for the tree to support developing fruits. Germination of pollen grain is affected. Fruit setting is low because moisture dries faster in flowers, thus germination of the pollen tubes to fertilize the stigma is affected.
On the other hand, I noticed that mango fruits during dry season are less-prone to diseases because fungi do not thrive in hot or dry environment. Fruits are shiny and without rust and spots, but the worst effect is the formation of small and malformed fruits.
In some areas, of Davao del Sur, despite of the hot season some farmers started flower induction last April, to meet the onset of the rainy season by May, but rain is so slight and moderate. Spraying was totally failure because the newly developed fruits did not grow. Only few reach to egg- size ready for bagging. But still the bagged fell down because of heat burn.
Last April, at the peak of the hot season, I visited my daughter’s mango farm at barangay San Roque, Digos City. I was so surprised that almost all leaves of mango trees fell down. The plants became bald. It was so dry that the soil cracked and the weeds were all dried. This was noticed in the farms of, Marites Juntilla, Benito Ayop, Felipe Nebria, Bendoy Tungal, Arnold Nebria, Nemenio and Albores farm and others. San Roque is budded as ‘mango country’ of Digos City because 95% of the land area is now productive mango farms for domestic and export market, the ‘cebu’ variety. However, some plants have died including coconut trees. It was a great blessing that a heavy rain fells in torrent last April 25. Few days after, the plants started simultaneous flushing. All branches sprout.
Moderate rain continued falling during the first week of May, the mango trees have recovered from thirst. On the third week, the flushes became full-grown leaves. The farmers sprayed with insecticide to prevent voracious leaf-eating pest. By the end of May, the mango plants are stout, greenish and healthy with good canopy. As of this writing, the plants have totally recovered all infliction brought by El Niño.
By June, when the soil is completely wet, I will apply 4 kilos of complete fertilizer around the base of the tree, 4 meters away from the trunk. So, by January next year, when the leaves are thick and matured, the trees are ready for induction.
Felix B. Daray 1693 Luna Ex. Digos City