A three-day symposium on Ghana’s mango industry drew 250 producers, processors and exporters as well as government officials and representatives of financial institutions to celebrate and deliberate the future of the sector. “Mango: Ghana’s green gold. Growing for food and creating jobs,” began on July 27 with a parade from the capital to the eastern regional town of Kpong where a symposium was held on the next day.
Ghana exported 2,122 metric tons of fresh mangoes valued at $11.6 million in addition to fresh cuts, dried mangoes, and juice in 2016. Although mango production in Ghana lags far behind that of Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso and Mali, its unique climate provides two seasons, a short one December to February – complementing the traditional April to July production period. This second harvest gives Ghana a unique competitive advantage to increase exports of quality fresh mangoes to the EU and other emerging markets during this period.
Mr. Kingsley Amoako of Ghana’s Ministry of Food and Agriculture opened the symposium by saying his ministry was working with the Ministry of Local Government to support to encourage more youth to venture into mango farming.
“We are excited about the upcoming project, because aside from job creation, mango plantations help stabilize the environment and ecosystem,” he added.
Speakers urged the stakeholders to adhere to global standards to become competitive on the international market. The Trade Hub’s mango consultant, Mr. Victor Avah, emphasized documentation of activities on the farms.
“When a buyer visits your farm and sees that there is no proper documentation, they are likely not to return,” Mr. Avah said.
The Trade Hub’s Chief of Party, Ms. Carol Adoum, said Ghana can solidify and grow its position as a leading player in the global mango market “through increasing technical knowledge, business systems and professionalization of operations throughout the value chain”.
The symposium focused on challenges that plague the mango sector—particularly fruit fly and bacteria black spot diseases—as well as lack of finance in the industry.
“We have real problems in our day to day activities in farming like diseases, chiefs selling farming lands to real estate developers and lack of finance. … We want to see solutions to these problems. We need technical assistance, we need the banks to lend money to us to grow and export more,” said Mr. Seth Djanmah, President of the Dangme West Mango Farmers’ Association.
The three-day event ended with visits to mango farms. At Blue Skies, Agronomist Mr. Ernest Ablorh asked farmers to give processors their estimated production to enable the processors to plan their sourcing and prevent fruits from going bad on the farms.
The mango week was organized in collaboration with the Federation of the Association of Ghanaian Exporters (FAGE), German Cooperation (Deutsche Zusammenarbett) and the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA).