It is feared that mango export in Ghana could reduce to zilch in the coming years if pragmatic measures are not taken to confront the rampaging effects of the Mango Black Bacterial disease. This is according to the vice president of the Papaya and Mango Producers and Exporters Association of Ghana (PAMPEG) and CEO of Evelyn Farms, Mr. Bassam George Aoun.
Mr. Bassam who expressed the fear in an interview with Rite news in the wake of the unrelenting devastation of the BBS described the situation as disturbing, a situation which can reduce mango export to 0% within the next two years if not curtailed.
He regretted that farmers continued to suffer huge losses despite taking loans from credit facilities to raise the farms which are distressed by the disease.
“Farmers have lost huge sums of money after accessing loans from banks to invest in their farms,” he alluded. “They however cannot boast of a pesewa after the MBBS invasion, which has become a big blow to the mango farmers in the country.”
Expressing fears that the phenomenon could lead to massive unemployment in the country, the PAMPEG vice president said some 20 000 employees in the sector risk losing their jobs if the disease is allowed to fester.
“The infestation if not checked can lead to unemployment since the mango industry employs more than 20,000 farmers and their respective workers giving direct and indirect jobs to the youth,” he asserted.
Investors, both foreign and local are beginning to lose confidence in the sector since they are not making enough returns from their initial investment into the business making it unattractive, Mr. Bassam said.
The CEO of Evelyn Farms expressed confidence in the potential of the mango industry to excel in the world market ahead of cocoa “because the demand is high which the country is even unable to supply which can contribute significantly to the country’s economy.”
He therefore pleaded with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) and other industry key players to take urgent steps to combat the invasion since it’s beyond the capacity of the farmers.
He however insisted that researchers intensify their work around the clock to find a lasting solution to the issue at hand.
By Austin Ofori Addofirstname.lastname@example.org