National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI) in collaboration with various
Mango growers with the value chain production last Thursday organized a day
long mango fruit fly innovation platform meeting at the NARI Yundum station.
The meeting brought together various actors, targeted at providing opportunities to extension workers, researchers, farmers and producers to discuss how best to set-up an innovation platform where they can express their views and opinion. The establishment of the platform also targets to combat flies in mango fruit.
Dr. Faye Manneh, a researcher at NARI said the purpose of the meeting was to discuss the damages that the fruit flies cause on mango especially during rainy season.
He said mango production is very important in The Gambia, saying benefits attached to mango growing cannot be overestimated. He said the first benefit derived from mango production is food. “The value of mango production is key, as it will reduce spending on other food and it will reduce the expenditure to 30%.”
Dr. Manneh said mango contains essential elements like vitamin and minerals, which, he said, are very good to the human body system. He said the vitamin will help to facilitate reproduction especially for pregnant women and children.
According to him, the third economic benefit of mango production is the income that actors derived from it, saying most of The Gambian farmers are mango growers and earn lot of money from the mango specially those who export. “So it is a significant component for our economy. For the past years we have been realizing a lot of damages due to fruit fly invasion and this has been on for several years.”
He NARI in collaboration with CORAF based in Senegal have embarked on a five-year fruit fly project to combat fly invasion.
He said he believed that the role and contribution of each actor will be important as far as value chain is concerned and that involves all actors, producers, transporters markets, farmers, extension workers and researchers.
Director General of NARI Anusuman Jarjue applauded mango growers for their positive response to the meeting, saying their presence was a clear indication of their commitment to form the innovation platform that would work with partners against fruit flies.
Mr. Jarjue challenged the mango growers to take the innovation platform seriously as it will serve as a platform for sharing information and learning best practices from each other.