/ 13 October 2021

DR. RAMON C. Barba, the scientist behind the year-round availability of fresh mangoes, passed away on Sunday at the age of 82.

Barba was known worldwide for his achievements in the field of plant physiology, especially on the induction of flowering of mango and the micropropagation of important crop species.

In 2014,  President Benigno Aquino III made Barba a national scientist — the highest recognition given to a Filipino who made significant contributions in science and technology.

His pioneering work on the induction of flowering and fruiting of mango resulted in year-round availability of mangoes. This also helped establish the mango exports industry and an entirely new industry of processed mango products.

This mango induction technology was patented not only in the Philippines but also in other countries, such as USA, England, Australia, and New Zealand. Many mango producing countries in Latin America, Africa, Asia and Australia have adopted the technology for their mango production.

Barba did not collect any royalty from the patent so that ordinary farmers can freely use the technology.

His outstanding works on plant micropropagation led major changes in the production schemes of several important crops.

He and his team at the Institute of Plant Breeding at the University of the Philippines Los Baños developed the tissue culture protocol for banana to produce large quantities of planting materials that are robust and disease-free.

Together with his research team, Barba developed micropropagation protocols for more than 40 important species of ornamental, fruit and plantation crops, aquarium plants and forest trees including cassava, white potato, rattan, bamboo, ramie, derris, garlic, and shallot.