Mango farmers have been taken through ultra-high density plantation (UHDP) technology to improve yields and the quality of mangoes produced in the country.
UHDP is a method of optimal planting and spacing of crops to boost yield and lower production cost.
Organised by the Federation of Associations of Ghanaian Exporters (FAGE) and sponsored by the Export Development and Agricultural Investment Fund (EDAIF), the event marked the beginning of a five-year process of implementing activities in FAGE’s strategic plan to increase earnings from the non-traditional export sector.
The strategic plan, which is to be launched soon, has four broad objectives: increased production, increased market access, increased finance for export production activities, and human capacity development in export activities.
The four objectives are in agreement with the project descriptions outlined in the National Export Development Programme (2013-2017) launched recently by the Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr. Haruna Iddrissu.
In an effort to support government’s effort at diversifying Ghana’s export base, increasing foreign exchange, creating jobs and increasing farmers’ income, EDAIF embarked on a mango plantation development project to turn the savannah regions into a mango production zone. The mango project began in 2009.
The project aims at developing 20,000 acres of mango plantation in the Brong Ahafo, Northern, Volta, Upper East and Upper West Regions by the year 2015. To date, EDAIF has approved an amount of GH¢26.5million for the cultivation of an expected 13,511 acres.
This includes an amount of GH¢3.5million for maintenance of the farms; and, as at March of this year, a total amount of GH¢18.7million had been disbursed from the approved funds.
An inspector and auditor for primary production schemes, Saiath Naidu of eFresh India, and Mr. Joost van Odjik, CEO of eFresh.com — a leading global network for fresh products — took the participants through the training course.
Through the UHDP method, farmers are able to plant 674 trees per hectare as opposed to 40 trees in the southern ecological zone of the country, and the technology produces 2-3 times more fruit per acre than traditional cultivation methods.
The new method, devised in South Africa, also has the benefit of early-fruiting in three years, and farmers can triple their incomes in five years.