India’s annual foreign earnings in mango production stands at $3.2 billion, Mr. Prince Obeng-Asante, Deputy Managing Director of Ghana Nuts Limited, an agro-processing company in the Techiman municipality, said at the weekend.
He expressed regret that the highly demanding economic crop on the international market was left rotten on farms in Ghana annually because the country did not have processing plants for mango.
Mr. Obeng-Asante was speaking on the topic: “harnessing the investment potentials of the Region: The role of the private sector,” at a dialogue session at a four-day regional policy fair, in Sunyani.
He explained that aside its nutritional value, mango, mostly grown in Atebubu/Amantin, Sene and Jaman North districts, as well as Kintampo and Wenchi municipalities of Brong-Ahafo, had huge export earnings that could enhance Ghana’s Gross Domestic Product.
Mr. Obeng-Asante emphasized that with a processing plant in place, Ghana could add value to its mango and package the fruit well for export.
“Some developed countries are able to extract oil and chocolate from the mango seed”, he said.
While advising the youth to go into mango production in commercial quantities to attract foreign investors, the Deputy Managing Director called on Government to consider negotiating with private investors to set up a factory for the processing and storage of the fruit.
Speaking on the topic, “The youth in agriculture”, Mr. George Gyadu Awala, Executive Director of the National Service Youth in Agriculture, asked the youth to stay in the country and enter into farming after school, as there were a lot of prospects in the agriculture sector.
He said it was not true that there were no jobs in the country, which had led to high unemployment of graduates.
Mr. Awala noted that the youth were not ready to go into agriculture because they regarded farming “as a punishment because during their school days they were made to weed when they committed offences.”
He explained that a lot of the youth who entered into agriculture complained of low yield because fertilizers supplied to them by Government were sold.
Mr. Charles Kwaku Yorke, Head of Research of the Ghana Meteorological Service in Accra, said despite erratic rainfall pattern in the region there would not be food shortage.
He said this year the amount of rainfall would reduce in parts of the southern country, including Brong-Ahafo.
Mr. Yorke urged farmers to wait till the soil was moist enough before they could start sowing to avoid re-planting, which could result in extra cost to them.
He also advised farmers to seek technical advice from agricultural extension officers for increased yield.