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Tanzania: Govt urged to boost mango growersMango growers have called on the government to support them in researching soil, mango nurseries, diseases and pests affecting the crop to help them harvest produce that meet customers’ needs. Burton Nsape, Chairman for the Association of Mango growers (AMAGRO) said this while speaking to members of the Parliamentary Agriculture, Livestock and Water Committee during their official visit to Msakuzi and Mbezi Msumi on the outskirts of Dar es Salaam to see the progress of mango farms. He said they have visited them to see the mangoes they grow, identify their problems so that the government can establish a better was of supporting them.
“As farmers we need the government to conduct research on mango production chain because there are many diseases affecting the fruits causing losses in the region of 70 per cent of total production. This is not good for farmers who engage in mango production because they spend huge sums of money to prevent those diseases,” he said. The research findings, he said, will help AMAGRO members understand the type of soil suitable for mango production and the type of fertiliser to be used if the soil is not suitable for mango production. It is reported that, currently powdery mildew, anthracnose, female fruit flies namely Bactrocera Invadens and pests which attack and damage both mango fruits and trees are the major diseases affecting mangoes.
Water shortage has also been reported as another major problem, resulting to lower yields and poor fruit quality causing mangos to wither and fall off the trees before maturing or ripening. He also told Members of the Parliament that at the moment AMAGRO has one officer who normally provides extension services to more than 160 AMAGRO’s members countrywide. “To meet our planned activities we ask the government to assist us to get at least six competent extension officers who will help us train the farmers on how to prevent diseases,” he noted.
AMAGRO members have also asked the government to subsidise the small scale farmers upcountry and train them on modern farming methods, search for markets for their produce and organize mango festivals. “The government can extend to us at least 500m/- as subsidy for five years so that we can implement our planned activities,” he said. Also the funds will help them to build cold storage facilities to be used by farmers during harvests, he said. He also noted that lack of laboratory for soil and leave testing after harvests, inadequate funds to print AMAGRO’s guidance books, lack of transport facilities to reach more farmers upcountry are some of the main obstacles to AMAGRO operations.
For his part, Prof Peter Msola, who was accompanied by other lawmakers said that they were very impressed with the activities the mango farmers were engaged in. “We have learned a lot from you, identify the problems you have, as Member of Parliaments we will work on them and see how the government can help you,” he said. Currently Middle East, Australia, Philippines, Netherlands, Europe, Asia, are the major customers of mangoes from Tanzania.
Publication date: 11/5/2012
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