A mango festival is coming to the Philippines later this month. Mango lovers can thank El Niño, the climate phenomenon that causes temperatures in the eastern equatorial Pacific to rise. That results in a number of changes around the world—one of which is a surplus in mangoes in the Philippines, apparently. More than 4 million pounds of mangoes, to be exact.
The Guardian first reported on this disaster or, uh, *cough* blessing, which has Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol scrambling to figure out what the country can do with all these damn mangoes before they rot.
The Philippines is one of the world’s leading exporters of the fruit. In 2016, it produced more than 1 billion pounds of mangoes, but this harvest season was “unusual,” per the government. The dry heat brought on by this year’s weak El Niño created “low rainfall, low relative humidity” conditions the Australian government describes as ideal for mangoes to grow into their sweet, magical selves.
It’s far from the first time El Niño has had an impact on crop yields. The climate pattern has a history of improving corn crops and soybeans. In other cases, El Niño can exacerbate drought, resulting in lower crop yields and heightened food insecurity. A study last year found that El Niño can impact up to two-thirds of the world’s crops.
Unfortunately, in this case, a massive oversupply has caused the fruit’s price to drop more than half: from 58 pesos to 25 per kilogram, according to the Guardian. If the government of the Philippines isn’t able to sell the surplus, the price of mangoes could plummet even further. That’s bad news for the farmers who’ve grown them.
Most of the excess is on the island of Luzon, where the capital is located. As a result, the country is focusing its efforts to sell the mangoes in the capital city of Manila, under a campaign called Metro Mango launched Monday. There, some farmers have even begun giving out free mangoes, reports the Guardian.
Some help is coming in the form of a Japanese importer, which will reportedly purchase more than 220,000 pounds of mangoes from the Philippines this year. Now the country just needs to find a U.S. importer to bring them mangoes to my local Brooklyn mango stand.