The Fatili Small Holder Organic Mango Group on Tuesday appealed to the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) to allocate 5% of its funds to help the association to increase its plantation.
The association also asked for technical expertise from SADA and Savanna Agriculture Research Institute (SARI) to address the challenge of frequent “fruit dropping” during the dry season.
Alhaji Allhassan Jalambon, Organiser of the Association, told the GNA in an interview that the support would help members to reduce pre-harvest losses.
He said following the cultivation of 90 acres of mango plantation five years ago, the group had observed all the best practices but was still experiencing fruit dropping.
“The season of fruiting is up and it is the desire of every farmer to reap a bumper harvest; the trees have flowered very beautifully and the fruits are forming. However both the flowers and the fruit are dropping, leaving just a few to mature for export”, he said.
Alhaji Jalambon said the situation was very disturbing because the group secured a loan from the bank with an interest rate of 30% and added “we are not getting even half of the expected yield so how are we going to pay the interest”.
He said the situation had deepened the woes of farmers and discouraged many other farmers who wanted to cultivate mangoes.
Alhaji Jalambon said the mango business employed about 70 women and when given the necessary boost could augment government efforts towards reducing poverty in the region.
Madam Amina Bamba, a labourer at the plantation, said the livelihood of her family depended on the plantation and called on SADA and other institutions to support the project.
Mr. Mohammed Zakaria, the Coordinator of the Group said the challenges, when addressed, would reduce the problem of unemployment in the community and make the sector more viable.
He thanked the Export Development and Agriculture Investment Fund (EDAIF) for building a pack house to keep mangoes after harvesting.