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:
- Services accessed by farmers
- Results achieved.
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.