Regional News of Monday, 4 March 2013
The Kintampo Mango Farmers Association (KIMFA) at the weekend called for a collaborative sub-regional level policy to control the fruit fly menace in sub-Saharan Africa.
The group, numbering more than 200, said the identification of the West African zone by international trade experts as a fruit fly endemic area, was making it difficult for them to access the international mango market, in spite of the huge cost incurred in fighting the fly.
Mr David Opoku Sarfo, chairman of KIMFA made the call at a seminar organised by KIMFA with support from the Business Sector Advocacy Challenge Fund (BUSAC) at Kintampo.
It was on the theme, “Improving Ghana’s fruit industry: Image through fruit fly control” and was attended by vegetable and fruit farmers in the area. He observed that effective government to government protocols and farmer-based networking for a wider, integrated and coordinated control of the destructive fruit fly among affected countries was urgently needed.
Mr Sarfo explained that KIMFA and other farmers in mango production were losing the fight because the fruit fly had a wide range of hosts and migrated across borders to and from neighbouring mango producing countries such as Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cote D’Ivoire, Mali, Gabon, Nigeria, Niger, Guinea and Benin.
He pointed out that Ghana’s mango was targeted as the next non-traditional export crop that was expected to fetch the highest foreign exchange for the country but the sustainability of the mango business was threatened by the infestation of the fruit fly.
Mr Sarfo cited that a mango consignment from Ghana was rejected in South Africa in 2008 which led to the ban on the importation of the crop in South Africa.
He said the demand for fresh mangoes on the European market was strong and growing at more than five per cent every year, and appealed to the government to collaborate with neighbouring countries in the fight against the fly.