04.01.2006 Regional News

Government urged to save the mango industry

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Somanya (E/R), Jan. 4, GNA - Mr Joseph Kwesi Odzeyem 2005 National best mango farmer has expressed concern about large quantities of mangoes that were destroyed yearly due to poor marketing and lack of processing plants.

He said about a third of this year's harvest from 1,824 acres of land within Yilo Krobo district were destroyed affecting incomes of the farmers.

Addressing an end of year get-together for mango farmers at Somanya, Mr Odzeyem who is also the Chairman of the Yilo Krobo Farmers Association said the association in collaboration with the assembly had drawn a strategic business plan to build pack-houses and processing plants to assist the farmers.

He said the Yilo district was poised to become the largest mango production area in the country with the cultivation of more than 3,000 acres of mangoes this year adding; "Our efforts would be in vain if nothing is done to market and add value to the produce through processing."

Mr Samuel Asante-Mensah, Country Director of the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) said there had been phenomenal growth in mango production in the region.

He said it begun in 1997 when ADRA with the assistance of the United States Aid Agency (USAID) mobilised the farmers and provided them with loans to acquire plots of lands and other logistics to venture into mango production.

Mr Asante-Mensah said Ghana had an immeasurable advantage for the cultivation of grafted mango, because most of the country's lands were suitable for mango production that satisfied international quality specification.

These areas are, the coastal savannah, the transitional zones of Ashanti and Brong Ahafo regions, the northern Volta region and the whole of Northern, Upper East and West regions.

Mr Asante-Mensah said these areas with their abundant moisture and hot temperature would produce the most diverse and abundant fruits. He said; "mango is developing to become an industry in Ghana and we need to assist our farmers to grow the fruit and take advantage of the growing world consumption."

Mr Asante-Mensah said ADRA was negotiating with international prospective investors in fruit processing to assist Ghanaian farmers.