A project aimed at improving mango production in Mali is bearing fruit, according to the World Trade Organization, which is backing the initiative through its Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) programme.
The country is one of West Africa’s largest mango producers, and also among the world’s fastest-growing exporters of the product.
However, despite producing more than 600,000 tonnes of mangoes in 2016, figures from national association the Mango Value Chain Inter-professional Organization (IFM) suggest fresh mango exports were just 40,457 tonnes in 2016, although that number was up 4.8 per cent on the previous campaign's 38,528 tonnes and reportedly generated around €24m in export sales.
According to the WTO’s latest annual report, which was published on 31 May, the EIF programme has helped improve the quality of its mango crop by helping to introduce phytosanitary treatment of orchards and by encouraging good agricultural practices in the main growing areas of Sikasso-Bamako-Koulikoro, a region in the south of the country which accounts for the vast majority of Mali’s mango output.
Back in November, the World Bank approved loans worth a total of US$30m to boost the Malian government’s own Support to Agro-Industrial Competitiveness Project.
“[The project] has supported capacity‑building of the different actors in the value chain (women farmers, producers, traders and exporters), provided guidance to a dozen exporters on obtaining GlobalGAP certification and offered marketing support at national and international trade events,” the report stated.
“Thanks to the programme, over 450 women are earning more money from mango farming and jam‑making,” it added. “In addition, women in rural cooperatives are being trained in processing techniques for fruit and vegetables, which will add value to their exports.”
Moctar Fofana, president of IFM, said he welcomed the World Bank’s continuing support. “While there is a potential for expanding revenues for all actors in the mango value chain – nurseries, farmers, rural assemblers, processors, and exporters – this can only be done through good coordination amongst ourselves in the value chain and a constructive dialogue with government.”
In January 2016, the EIF launched the second phase of its programme, which is funded through a partnership between the countries involved, donors and partner agencies including the WTO itself, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, the UN Conference on Trade and Development, the International Trade Centre, the UN World Tourism Organization and the UN Industrial Development Organization.
Due to run until 2022, it aims to help the world’s least-developed countries use trade as a tool for growth.