At a meeting held at Gambia Horticultural Enterprises (GHE) farm in Kembujeh to review the 2014 mango season and to plan for the 2015 season, Managing Director Momodou Ceesay informed reporters that The Gambia produces large amounts of mango but expressed dismay at the number of fruits that rot away.
He said the demand for mango in the world is high. “We have companies shipping mangoes from all over the world to European markets which cannot produce mangoes. We were exporting mangoes but mainly by air which is very, very expensive. We pay about US$1.50 dollar per kilo and we don’t get anything out of it. But with the global GAP (Good Agricultural Practices) certification we were able to export for the first time fresh mangoes by sea and we had a trial run to the Netherlands, France and the UK and we were able to buy big quantities of the outgrower mangoes there. This is the first time GHE is embarking on export by sea of fresh mangoes in its 22 years history,” he explained.
Director Ceesay told reporters that his enterprise, as a private investor, will leverage soft investments under the matching grant facility (a sub-component of the Gambia Growth Competitiveness Project) to support and enable outgrowers grow better mangoes by providing knowhow and expertise, training and extension support. He said under the scheme, GHE will be responsible for marketing the mangoes and providing quality assurance.
He disclosed as part of the initiative which is sponsored by the World Bank, they have registered some progresses like the display and sale of GHE Gambian mangoes at some supermarkets in Europe and also, the successful trial of mango processing into mango juice, jam, slices in syrup and dried flakes. He said they have also employed over 100 workers at the GHE for the production, harvesting, grading, packing, marketing and processing during the mango season.
Project manager Josse Soppe defined the initiative as an important project for The Gambia. He said: “I believe if the project is to be successful we have to do it together but we also need the World Bank and government. You need such support because somebody has to provide the money and the governments are good at that. When I was in The Netherlands I went to a supermarket and I saw lots of mangoes and I thought there is room for improvement. Last year I went to the warehouse in Netherlands and it was full of mangoes from all over the world and I was so proud. I’m not a Gambian but I have been here a long time and I said it is good that after all these years we finally have Gambian mangoes in The Netherlands.
The GHE is one of the Investors selected by the GGCP for the Window 1 matching grant facility for the establishment of a mango outgrower and processing method. According to experts, the facility will support implementation of a horticulture development programme to test and develop the establishment of a commercial mango farming system in order to produce a consistent volume and quality of new and existing mango varieties targeted for fresh fruits export market and as well support private investment in processing of secondary and tertiary quality produce for domestic and export markets.]]>