South African mango experts awarded with the Golden Mango

At the recent annual South African Mango Growers' Association (SAMGA) symposium, the Golden Mango award was given to four persons who’ve made a significant contribution to the South African mango industry.

Theuns Botha and wife, Johann du Preez and Jaco and Belinda Fivaz (Photo: Joe Dreyer)

The recipients were Dr Danielle Le Lagadec, Johann du Preez and Jaco Fivaz, who between them have served for sixteen years as chair of SAMGA, as well as Theuns Botha of Lapland Farm, who developed a chemical measure against mango malformation, a fungal disease widespread worldwide. The product, called Lima, is widely in use in the South African mango industry today and in the process of registration elsewhere in the world. It has reduced the incidence of flower malformation in some orchards from 70% or 80% to as low as 10%, and without Lima, as current SAMGA chairperson Pieter Buys noted at the awards ceremony, there might today well have been cattle walking around in derelict mango orchards.

Dr Le Lagadec was recognised for her research to develop a chemical control method of mango seed weevil.

Johann du Preez is operational manager of Bavaria Fruit Estate in Hoedspruit and self-proclaimed “mango maniac”, where he manages 300ha of mangoes. Jaco Fivaz of Mohlatsi Estate, also Hoedspruit, was the previous SAMGA chairperson and still on the SAMGA board. He was recognised for his pioneering high-density orchards. Both of them are involved in mango cultivar selection and trials.

Mango Industry Merit awards were given to Dave Elphick, Louwtjie van Vuuren and Mike Amm for their contributions in establishing the South African Mango Growers’ Association and supporting the industry.

In South Africa, mango orchards are now in bloom, up to four weeks later than usual, possibly because of a July on average colder than normal. While it is very early to make crop estimates on the coming season, the expectation is that it should be a normal harvest, after last year’s record crop. 

Young mango orchards, primarily Tommy Atkins and Keitt, with some Shelley and Sensation, will bolster mango volumes, which are predominantly consumed locally. 

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