Gambian mangoes on the European map

Gambian mango production and exports to Europe are set to rise over the coming years as a result of the World Bank funding which begins to bear fruits; the sector aim to be a strong competitor in the European market.

Gambia’s mango farmers have been cutting down trees to diversify into more profitable crops in past years but a game-changing grant is reverting their market perspectives. Inaugurated in 2010, the Gambia Growth & Competitive Project, set up with a slice of a US$12 million World Bank grant and due for completion in December 2015, allowed to heavily invest in the mango sector and make excellent progress in terms of putting mangoes in the European market.

Before the project started mango producers were not able to get a foothold in the market and there was no feasible export market for them but since the program started things are very different because with the correct growing techniques to produce quality mangoes, they can compete and find profitable markets.

The Gambian government divided funding into several projects under the Gambia Growth & Competitive Project banner; in terms of the mango sector, the aim is to create a reliable and sustainable mango supply base for exporters and processing.

The project has been able to expand mango production and managed to export mangoes by sea for the very first time, serving the EU market directly in the Netherlands with the UK and France as other key destinations. The expense of air freight had been historically discouraging exporters in Gambia: it costs approximately US$ 1,50 per kilo to export mango by air and, until the recent switch to sea shipment, there has been no transport over the water for around 22 years, in part due to lack of infrastructure. Shipping from Gambia to Europe by sea takes at most 15 days.

Source: International Trade Centre

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