At the moment following a bumper harvest of mangoes, the Philippines is gripped by an interesting problem. A huge surplus of this favourite fruit is crushing prices and threatening to further impoverish its producers.
The only hope is for Filipinos to do what they do best. Eat.
Eating the surplus mangoes is now being touted as the latest charitable deed — to dampen supply and uplift demand, as the thinking goes, and, it is hoped, pull up prices to the benefit of beleaguered Filipino mango producers.
This highlights the problem with Philippine industry. There is no downstream industrial chain strong enough to sustain demand for mangoes and other agriculture produce — which is why Filipino farmers are poor. In this specific case, there is no other way to dispose of surplus mangoes beyond marshalling 100 million Filipino mouths to the “heroic” task of munching into these otherwise delicious fruit.
Though there are downstream processing industries that produce derivative mango products like, well, dried mangoes, these don’t contribute enough demand to keep prices afloat. Mangoes are also difficult to export raw, because they are highly perishable and require expensive refrigeration.
In short, Philippine industry is too lame to support its own producers. So to all Filipinos issue that all-too-familiar call. Kain na!
Webmaster of Get Real Philippines