Mango can become an important foreign exchange earner for the country if it is given the right attention, says Mr. Prince Obeng-Asante, Deputy Managing Director of Ghana Nuts Limited, an agro-processing company in the Techiman municipality.

He expressed regret that the highly-demanded economic crop on the international market is left to rot on farms in Ghana annually, because the country does not have processing plants for mango.

Mr. Obeng-Asante, who was speaking on the topic “Harnessing the investment potentials of the Region: The role of the private sector” during a dialogue session at a four-day regional policy fair in Sunyani, said India’s annual foreign earnings in mango production stands at US$3.2billion.

He explained that aside from its nutritional value, mango — mostly grown in Atebubu/Amantin, Sene and Jaman North districts, as well as Kintampo and Wenchi municipalities of Brong-Ahafo — has huge export earnings potential that could enhance Ghana’s Gross Domestic Product.

Mr. Obeng-Asante emphasised 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 are a lot of prospects in the agriculture sector.

He said it is not true that there are no jobs in the country, which is cited as having led to high unemployment of graduates.

Mr. Awala noted that the youth are not ready to go into agriculture since they “regard farming as a punishment, because during their schooldays 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 fertilisers 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 will not be a food shortage.

He said this year the amount of rainfall will reduce in southern parts of the country, including Brong-Ahafo.

Mr. Yorke urged farmers to wait till the soil is moist enough before they start sowing to avoid re-planting, which could result in extra cost to them.

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