By Madelaine B. Miraflor
Japanese firm Diamond Star Corporation has suddenly signified its intention to buy more Philippine mangoes this season as farmers are reeling from oversupply and falling prices.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol, who identified the Japanese buyer, said that if there’s a perfect time for other countries to increase their mango imports from the Philippines, that would be now — when the price is low and the output is too high.
Based in Marunouchi Kishimoto, Japan, Diamond Star was founded in 2003 and is into wholesale distribution of fresh fruits and vegetables. Diamond Star has long been importing papayas, pineapple, mango, bananas and even turnips from the Philippines.
But for this season, it said it is buying 100 metric tons (MT) of mangoes, a plan that was delivered to Piñol by Philippine Agriculture Attaché to Japan Samuel Animas.
According to Piñol, Diamond Star revealed its plan five days after the visit of President Rodrigo Duterte to Japan, and just a few days since Piñol made an pronouncement that the Philippines is currently facing a 2-million kilos surplus in mango production of mango, pulling prices down to the detriment of producers.
Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed that during the first quarter of the year, production of mango actually dropped by 2.8 percent from 97,700 MT in 2018 to 94,920 MT this year. But as this leaves the industry with a surplus of 2 million kilos of mangoes, average farmgate price also dropped 18 percent to P48.45 a kilo during the period. This further went down in the last few weeks during the peak of this season’s harvest.
Diamond Star officials are expected to join the launch of the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) Metro Mango Marketing Program, a series of marketing events to sell the fruit crop.