#MINDANAO: Sustainability goals are our future

Published September 1, 2021, 10:27 AM

by John Tria

The malunggay trees in my backyard and my neighbors mango tree just completed its annual fruiting as the durians are just beginning to reach peak harvest.

September is way past when these should have taken place affecting growing cycles and harvests. What this means and what we can suggest to boost is the topic of this week’s column.

A few months back I wrote about how the PAGASA announced the coming of a “somewhat summer” as I recall it, since the limited heat didn’t get too many flowers up and rains persisted more than it would, damaging the buds, and in turn, delaying the fruiting. This, according to Davao-based Durian entrepreneur Atty. Antonio Partoza, caused a delay in the harvest of the popular durian and Marang, and also why we are not seeing many other fruits.

Nature gives heat and sunlight to stress the trees to make them flower and fruit, since stress it signals a threat to their survival and induces them to multiply to ensure their survival. Reduce the heat and these do not fruit as much. Put in too much rain and they stay green and lush, with few fruits.

According to him durian trees are flowering, which may indicate a rare late year harvest for many producers. Will we see the immunity boosting pungent fruit join our noche buena tables? Abangan.

Apart from the strong typhoons in other areas, the experience with late durian and fruit harvests show us the other side of climate change. The varying hot and wet seasons can really affect the schedule, quality and volume of fruit harvests, giving us a rich insight on how it affects local agriculture.

What then, must we do in the face of these changes?

The first thing is integrating more science based information on climate change and adaptation for our producers. The increased attention on science over the last few years is prompted by various climate and health related disruptions.

The younger crop of farmers often featured in other sections of this publication will be more technologically savvy, and connected to information sources not only for technical advice, but marketing opportunities as well.

A specific suggestion is the quick dissemination of agrometereological information to agribusiness and other stakeholders on data like local climate trends, covering extremes and normals and perhaps longer term forecasts for such information.

The DOST- Pagasa, local government agricultural offices, the DAR and DA local governments, the private sector and farmer groups can all come together with the DENR and the Climate Change Commission in a monthly or quarterly consultative activity to know more about local climate trends and how these affect production.

The same activity can also bring together Department of Agriculture regional offices and the local governments agriculture offices to put forward more technology in its “new thinking“ in agriculture, which deploying more technology in growing and post harvest as well as more marketing and export opportunities as in the case of the recent agreement with the USDA and South Korean producers to import agriculture commodities from our local producers. Having export markets enable off season production, or create a market for excess produce.

In the end, science and technology is our friend as we all adapt to climate change, applying tech for new ways of growing, linking to bigger markets here and abroad for our farms and agribusiness enterprises to innovate, compete thrive, and yes, sustain growth despite these disruptions and challenges. These are part of our sustainability goals, a key to the future.

Continue to stay safe everyone!

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