Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, the Minister for Food and Agriculture (MOFA) has said Government would clasp mango production into the one district one factory policy to create jobs and wealth for the youth and women.
He said the Ministry of Local Government was working MOFA to support the mango producing districts to encourage more youth to take mango production.
“We will embrace this project, because, apart from the job creation, mango plantations contribute to stabilizing the environment and ecosystem.
“It plays the dual role of commercial plantations as well as afforestation in a very fast degrading environment due to agricultural activities”, he said.
Dr Afriyie Akoto said this in a speech read on his behalf at the first day of a two-day Ghana Mango Week event held under the theme: “Mango, Ghana’s green gold: Growing for food and creating jobs”.
It was organised by The West Africa Trade and Investment Hub in collaboration with the Federation of the Association of Ghanaian Exporters (FAGE), German Cooperation/Deutsche Zusammenarbett (GIZ) and the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA).
The symposium brought together 250 farmers, producers, exporters, processors, dealers, financial institutions, government representatives, donors and service providers to unlock Ghana’s mango potential and contribute to the country’s effort to enhance exports and accelerate economic growth in the domestic fruit processing industry.
He said the world production exceeds 43 million metric tonnes yearly and the demand for mangoes keeps rising adding that Ghana was one of the few countries that is able to produce mangoes two times in a year.
He said statistics shows that in 2016, Ghana exported 2,122 metric tonnes of fresh mangoes valued at US$ 11.6 million aside the fresh cuts, juiced and dried mangoes.
Dr Afriyie Akoto said challenges that had confronted the industry included the fruit fly menace, the bacteria black spot, mealy bugs, climate change effects, high cost of input, limited credit and financing of the industry and land problems.
He said government would continue to work with various stakeholders to fashion out workable interventions facing the industry.
Madam Carol Adoum, the Chief of Party, Trade Hub, urged farmers to be cognizant of the uniformity and standards when packing and presenting their produce for exports.
Mr Fredrick Aryee, the President of FAGE, said local farmers should seek to add value locally to their yields which will definitely create jobs and wealth.
Nana Osei-Bonsu, the Chief Executive Officer of the Private Enterprise Federation, appealed to the foreign partners to not only assist in organizing celebrations, but to also assist local farmers with the requisite knowledge and technology to produce the type that meets the quality standards to compete at the international markets.
Mr Ben Morrison, a representative of GIZ, urged farmers to apply the knowledge they have acquired in their farming activities.
Mr Samuel Asante Mensah, the Director Agriculture and Food Security Programme ADRA- Ghana, said the USAID-ADRA Food Security Project in 1997-2007 has supported 1000 farmers.
The farmers were taken through topics including; management and control of bacteria black spot disease, management of fruit and anthracnose control, using new methods to increase mango production among others aimed to provide a leap in growth of the mango industry in Ghana.
Others were developing the local good agricultural practices for mango production and exports and developing markets for mangoes.