The increasing reports of Bacteria Black Spot (BBS) disease in a number of mango farms across the country appears to be casting doubts over government’s capacity to implement a crucial component of the Planting for Export and Rural Development (PERD) programme.
During a recent held workshop organized by BUSAC Fund in Kintampo in the Bono East Region, a number of farmers expressed worries about their losses to the disease, urging the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and key stakeholders to furnish them with efficient and affordable agro-chemicals that can assist in controlling the BBS disease.
Reports indicate that chemical control of BBS appears to be difficult. For instance, some farmers in Australia, had about 90 percent of their fruits thrown away recently because the spots on the fruit made them unacceptable to the market.
It is as a result of this that government is being encouraged to rather develop the technical know-how and build capacity of all actors in the production chain to be able to have the ability to treat and fight the disease, which would in turn pave way for the mango production aspect of the PERD initiative to begin successfully without any hitches.
Speaking with Goldstreet Business, the President of Ghana Vegetable Exporters Association and one of the first exporters of mangoes in Ghana, Samuel Tackie noted that under the span of the mango production cycle, many pests and diseases need to be taken care of, stressing that government’s funding commitment to resolving the problem has not been encouraging.
The BBS disease attacks mango and a number of tree crops, weakens their branches and causes cancers in the fruits, leading to premature drop.
Europe imports the majority of its mangoes from developing countries such as Ghana. Between 2013 and 2017, European imports of mangoes (including mangosteen and guavas) from developing countries increased from €461 million to €737 million.
Although the market for mangoes in Europe is growing, importers and retailers have a wide range of choice regarding suppliers. Therefore, as the disease continues without any measures taken to curb it, the possibility of the EU markets banning Ghana’s exports of mango is a clear and present danger.
By Dundas Whigham