By Dennis Agbo
THE President of National Association of Mango Producers, Processors and Marketers of Nigeria, Hon. Abudulkadir Nasir has said that his association is already working on how to stop the waste of mango fruits and make it competitive export produce.
Nasir who regretted that Nigeria losses 700,000 out of 900,000 annual tons of mangos produced in Nigeria, said the association has embarked on sensitization of mango farmers on how it will control and eliminate flies that attack mangos and render then inedible and unfit for exports.
Speaking with newsmen in Enugu, Wednesday, at a workshop organized by European Union for quarantine officers and mango producers nationwide on control of fruit flies, Nasir stated that the essence of the workshop was to sensitise farmers and quarantine agents on what to look out for during the phyto-sanitary inspection of mangos so that the fruits can meet regulations of the European Union.
He said that fruit flies inhibit standard qualities of fruit such as Mangos and also retard their yield, which was the reason the aim of the workshop was to enlighten and teach quarantine officers the efforts and control measures of the fruit fly in Mango production, after production and while in transit to destinations for export.
“Fruit flies are harmful to fruits. They feed on fruits to sustain but it is detrimental to the production of Mango and it is the cause of 60 percent cause of Mango losses by farmers in Nigeria.
“The Association is looking seriously at internal processing like mango chips that are more palatable than all the chips you find around but there are no people venturing into it. The Association is planning to go the six geopolitical zones to create awareness to develop their plantations in such a way that they conform to international best practices that could sell in Nigeria and outside.
“Our visit is also to stimulate people that are into menial production of Mango so that they can be availed with funding. We are already in the process of approaching Central Bank so that it can take Mango as one of the fruits to anchor in production, processing and in marketing.
“Losses in mango that are caused by the fruit flies amount to more than half of the total losses incurred in mango production. Ones mango fall of the tree to the ground and the farmer does not know the agricultural practice of how to evacuate, destroy and provide trap for the flies or paste-free; this is what the Association is coming to teach the mango farmers.
“Right now, Nigeria is producing about 900,000 tons of mangos annually. Out of that, about 700,000 tons are lost. That is colossal loss and within Nigeria, we can consume twice as much but the issue is that where there is an abundance of mango is not connected with where there is no mango.
“If the CBN can take up the issue of palm produce and cashew, there is no reason why Mango should be left out,” Nasir stated.