Fruit and vegetable production is one of the fastest-growing agri sectors in Gambia. Mangoes, citrus, chilies, papaya and watermelon are among the most common fruits and vegetables grown for domestic urban markets and export.
Gambia produces a lot of mangoes that presents it as a great export opportunity. However, the sector is threatened by the existence of insect pests notably fruit flies which cause damage to fruits and vegetables.
This problem is exacerbated by the loss of market opportunities through the imposition of strict quarantine rules by importing countries. According to reports from National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI), the damage caused by fruit flies on crops particularly mango is estimated at 35%. The pest has increased interceptions and destruction of exported fruits from the Gambia that are destined for the EU market.
In a bid to address this problem as well as boost production and export of mangoes, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Gambia, ceremonially handed over an assortment of fruit fly pheromone attractants and traps to officials of the Plant Protection Services (PPS) of the Department of Agriculture. Growers hope to receive more government aid to combat fruit flies more efficiently in the very near future.