12.05.2005 Business & Finance

Organic mango steals show at exhibition

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Tamale, May 12, GNA - Certified organic mango produced by the Integrated Tamale Fruit Company (ITFC), captured the attention of many visitors at the on-going National Conference on Participatory Agricultural Research and Development in Tamale.

The company was one of the participants at the conference and had exhibited few of its products including seedlings to the admiration of many who crowded the attendant and quizzed him with questions and seeking assistance to go into its cultivation.

The conference is to enhance collaborative approach to agricultural research and development in Northern Ghana to improve access to agricultural information, knowledge and innovations. The five-day conference is on the theme: "Innovative participatory research and development: The farmer at the centre stage". It brought together about 88 farmers from the Upper East, Upper West and the Northern regions and other policy makers and researchers across the country to brainstorm on moving agriculture in the three Northern regions forward.

Other exhibitors included research institutions under the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and Action Aid, who exhibited mainly local food varieties.

Mr Louis De Bruno Austin, Programme Manger of the ITFC in an interview with the GNA said the company was into mass certified organic mango production for the local market and for export. He said the aim was to satisfy the international markets as well as creating employment opportunities for people in the area indicating that the company had so far employed about 240 workers.

The ITFC, he said was incorporated in 1999 and had since cultivated 155 hectares of mangoes on its nucleus farm and had raised a nursery of 340,000 seedlings in the Savelugu/Nanton District. Mr Austin said many countries including South Africa had expressed interest in buying the mangoes and that other areas of focus would be the European market.

He said ITFC had granted loans to farmers in the production areas to produce purely certified organic mangoes for the company to export the fruits on their behalf.

Target farmers, Mr Austin said were the rural dwellers who were being assisted to cultivate at least an acre to help reduce the poverty level of the people in the Northern Region.

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