GH¢52M MANGO PROJECT LAUNCHED IN BOLE
A National Mango Plantation project by government, intended to turn the three Northern Regions including Northern Brong Ahafo, Northern Ashanti and Northern Volta into a mango production hub has been launched in Bole in the Bole-Bamboi District of the Northern Region of Ghana.
The five year (2009 to 2013) project, which will be sponsored by Export Development and Investment Fund (EDIF) a state institution, is also aimed at making the targeted areas the preferred destination for fresh mango export, production and agro-industrialization.
The North is known for its large production of shea nuts, guinea corn, millet, dawadawa, groundnuts, cashew, and among others. However, in recent years, many farmers have also taken into commercial production of mangoes, which is now receiving support from government and other institutions because of its high value.
In the Northern Region for instance, the Integrated Tamale Fruits Company (ITFC) and the Dolan and Ayana Mango plantations are a few good examples. The two mango companies have large acres of mango plantations which if supported by the government under its mango plantation project, could boost production unimaginably and create jobs for the teeming youth in the area.
However, one major problem that often confront, these farmers is the lack of water to irrigate their plantations thus, they buy water throughout the dry season to keep their farms wet.
The Northern Regional Minister, Moses Bukari Mabengba, said the National Mango Plantation project which is worth GH¢52 million revolves around pushing lead farmers as nucleus farmers to pull along outgrowers as Farmer Based Organisations to facilitate the transformation of subsistence or hand-to-mouth existence into export led competitive economy.
Each nucleus farmer he noted, would be cultivating 50 acres of mangoes with 75 farm families in adjoining communities selected to cultivate two acres each on a nearby land to serve as a block farm. According to Mr. Mabengba, a total of 20,000 acres have been earmarked for development into a mango orchard over a five year period.
The Minister disclosed that by the end of project, about 67 metric tones of mangoes will be produced and subsequently rise up to a peak of 249,000 metric tones.
Whereas it is also expected that by the end of the project, about 29,000 metric tones of mangoes will be generated from the project, yielding about GH¢37 million, he projected that this was expected to pickup to GH¢97 million and furthermore to GH¢139 million by the close of project year.
The Northern Regional Minister said, it is also estimated that about 24,000 metric tones of mangoes will be produced for the local market for processing locally. Adding, “This is expected to grow up to 89,000 metric tones when the project is fully operational and the revenue returns from the local processing activity is programmed to yield up to GH¢8 million”.
The local processing component is expected to form the basis for local agro-industrialization in
In his address, Agyabeng Antwi-Agyei, acting Chief Executive Officer of EDIF, said to provide the missing link in the country’s export drive, the Board and Management of the Fund had set out as its strategic objectives to be the preferred source of finance for export enterprises.
According to him, the Board and Management also planned to position EDIF as an efficient and effective export-oriented financial services provider and to be a one-stop shop for providing a comprehensive and coherent financial service.
The EDIF acting CEO stressed that several activities geared towards the achievement of the strategic objectives shall be undertaken by the Fund; typical among them is the institutional restructuring of EDIF to ensure the efficient and effective delivery on its mandate, he stated.
Mr. Antwi-Agyei encouraged farmers who were into export crop production to knock on the doors of EDIF for grants and credit schemes to enable them boost their activities.