During the mango season (five to six months per year) HPW drying capacity is entirely dedicated to mango. The mango growers have to contend with extremely low prices during peak supply since the season is short with high peaks of over-supply.

As a member of IDH’s Sustainable Initiative for Fruit and Vegetables (SIFAV) we designed a project that could tackle the above-mentioned challenges, and especially the extreme harvest peaks of mango. The project focuses:

1) to implement a Grower Support Scheme (GSS) for mango farmers providing technical assistance towards Good Agricultural Practices, a secure market outlet, and fair prices

2) to pasteurize fruit in over-supply peaks for further processing in low season

A vital part of the project is the Grower Support Scheme which is aimed at providing the technical assistance on good agricultural practices and the pre-financing of inputs to mango farmers. 200 mango farmers have been trained in sustainable practices, and this has increased pest management on the mango plantations.

The objective of the project was the acquisition of a pasteurization line to process fruit in over-supply peaks. The pasteurization line was procured and installed in 2016 and, albeit some challenges, has been used to pasteurize mango successfully.

Mango production overview in Ghana

Compared to other West African origins, the presence of fresh mangoes from Ghana on international markets is relatively modest (amounting to less than 3% of EU import volumes supplied from ECOWAS countries). However, fresh-cut mangoes from Ghana have made essential inroads since 2002, adding value to the product and directly impacting the national economy regarding income generation and employment creation. Over the last years, investments have been made by private enterprises such as Blue Skies, Bomarts and the Integrated Tamale Fruit Company (ITFC), together with the capacity building programs for farmers supported by USAID/TIPCEE (now replaced by ADVANCE) and MoFA’s district extension. These have led to a higher quality of fruit being produced for export, and to the acquisition of the GlobalGAP certification by many smallholder farmers. Smallholder farmers are a crucial part of the supply chain since they produce up to 45% of the total mango exports (UNCTAD, 2008).

Grower support scheme evaluation

HPW purchases fresh mangoes from smallholder farmers within and outside Ghana to supply its factory. In 2017, the company processed about 2,000 tons of fresh mangoes. The seasonal nature of mango production proves to be a challenge to processors across West Africa and indeed Ghana. HPW does not have a mango farm.

The three-month mango season means factories must process as many mangoes as possible before the season is over. In Ghana, there are two seasons in the year, the minor season (between December to February), and the major season (between June to July/August). Every year, HPW aims to purchase as many fresh mangoes as possible for its factory. This affects the factory’s ability to process pineapple during mango season; the implication of this on the block farmers has been discussed in preceding sections of this document.

The Grower Support Scheme for mango farmers is a scheme established alongside the block farm model to facilitate mango production for farmers in the region. The Grower Support Scheme was partly funded by IDH; specifically, IDH’s funds were used in implementing the training aspect of the Grower Support Scheme for mango farmers.

Impact assessment

The impact of the relationship between HPW and mango farmers was evident during the interactions with farmers. All mango farmers interviewed claim to have received some form of technical assistance and training from HPW mostly via their cooperative. However, only 60% received direct assistance in the form of inputs and pre-finance. Loans provided for the farmers were used for labor and general maintenance.

In evaluating the impact of the grower support scheme for mango farmers, two broad categories were utilized:

  1. Services accessed by farmers
  2. Results achieved.

Services

Under the Grower Support Scheme, support to farmers is provided in the form of inputs pre-financing, training, loans and technical assistance. Training is carried out individually for mango farmers at the farm site and is funded by IDH, so it is at no cost to the farmers. So far, HPW has spent an average of €20.3 on training each farmer). The company reports spending a total €46,163 on input support for the farmers. No information on the amount recouped was provided. Four major training sessions have been organized since inception, 200 farmers have attended. These have been complemented by one-on-one training by the HPW extension officer on the mango farms

According to the farmers, techniques learned during training are usually implemented on the farms. New techniques learnt include better pest control management, BSS management, integrated pest management, better chemical, and fertilizer protocol. According to the farmers, the application of these techniques has led to fewer losses as farmers have been equipped with more information and can manage problems.

Farmers relate the impact of the training received to include better handling of fruits at harvest, better input management, and improved pest management during outbreaks. Because mango production is heavily dependent on the climate, i.e., flowering is affected by humidity, and most farmers still depend on rainfall; overall, annual yields per farm are inconsistent, although supported farmers reported a 58% increase in productivity.

The scheme also provides inputs such as agrochemicals and fertilizer. The costs of these are deducted when fruits are supplied to the factory after harvest. Majority of farmers claim to use inputs sourced through other means because HPW’s inputs are often late and supply is irregular. The delay in receipt of inputs places a constraint on production.

From data gathered during the interviews with farmers and HPW staff, the Growers Support Scheme appeared to reduced production cost on the average by €89.4/acre. Supported farmers spent an average €265.9 on production per acre, while non-supported spent about €355.3 on production per acre. This can be attributed to the techniques learnt as pest management is very crucial in mango production.

The average revenue generated by supported farmers is €5,428.9; these farmers seem to earn a higher profit than non-supported farmers with an average of €774.5 and €561.4 per acre respectively. The higher profits earned by the supported farmers may be attributed to higher yields produced per acre. The average yield for supported farmers is 3.85 tons per acre and 1.92 tons for non-supported farmers.

The Grower Support Scheme has also led to improved quality of mango supplied to the factory. At the factory, fewer mangoes supplied by supported farmers are rejected (average of 3.5%) compared to 7.5% of mangoes supplied by non-supported farmers.

Common reasons for rejection of fresh mangoes at the factory include; mechanical abrasion, spoilage from fruit fly or stone weevil infestation, to mention a few. The lower percentage of rejection can be accredited to increased awareness and compliance of supported farmers on good agricultural practices. Due to the high competition for raw materials in the region, not all farmers sell their fruits to HPW. Only 50% of supported farmers sell their entire harvest to HPW, of the 50% that do not sell all their produce to the company, 20% of them sell the majority (about 95%) of their harvest to HPW and the rest to other buyers.

On the other hand, mango producer cooperatives in the area are trained periodically by HPW and other organizations such as MoFA, SPEG, and GIZ. Although farmers are provided with microloans and inputs from HPW during the planting season, support to mango farmers is not as consistent as the support given to pineapple farmers. Despite these shortcomings, all farmers interviewed expressed willingness to continue to work with HPW.

Critical success drivers

From the interviews conducted, the critical success factors of the Scheme are input supply, technical support, constant visits (via the field officer); and timely uptake of harvested mangoes by HPW. The local representative serves as a relationship manager with the farmers who maintains communication between them and the company; he also trains and provides technical assistance.

Block Farm Model for pineapple production

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