The Philippines has been advised to utilise part of the proceeds from its US commodity loan to finance the expansion of mango farms on Guimaras Island, which is found in the central group of islands in the country.

The area is certified by the US Department of Agriculture as the only domestic pest-free producer and increased yields here will meet US demand for export quality, according to the US agricultural counsellor to Manila, Charles T Alexander.

Alexander explained that he has suggested the Philippines Department of Agriculture put aside US$4m to boost production on Guimaras Island: "We'd like to see expanded areas for mangoes that will be exported to the US."

"Now, it's really up to the BPI [Bureau of Plant Industry] to come up with a work plan for the expansion in Guimaras and other islands that they'd like to target next," he added.

Currently, Japan and Hong Kong provide the largest export markets for fresh mangos from the Philippines. Producers have recently sourced inroads into the Australian market however, and the USDA expects to grant formal export eligibility for Guimaras Island mangoes before the end of this year.