ITC, ECOWAS head mission to Brazil's top mango region for entrepreneurs from four West African nations
Brazil, the world's fourth-largest mango exporter, is serving as an example for African countries that grow the fruit to learn how to improve efficiency and tackle problems that hinder production. To this end, the ITC and the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) organized a field visit to Brazil's Petrolina region in November so that African entrepreneurs could benefit from Brazilian producers' experiences and knowledge.
The 8-17 November mission focused on five themes of particular importance to West Africa: pest and disease management, orchard extension and improvement, mango-processing capacities, quality and certification, and post-harvest operations. The technical visit covered all stages of the mango value chain: research, agronomy, production, domestic and overseas marketing, and transformation of the fruit into juice.
Among those participating in the visit to the Petrolina-Juazeiro production zone - where between 80% and 90% of Brazilian mango exports originate - were processors and exporters from Ghana, Mali, Ivory Coast and Nigeria, including a female entrepreneur.
The mission was part of the Programme for Building African Capacity for Trade II (PACT II), a partnership initiative of ITC and certain Regional Integration Bodies to enhance regional trade development in Africa. ECOWAS is one of the three Regional Economic Communities (REC) participating in the programme as counterpart organisations at the sub-regional level.
Mango shipments from ECOWAS nations account for 15% of European Union imports of the fruit, with EU imports doubling to more than 200,000 tonnes in the last decade, but in 2010 Brazil controlled 40% of the EU market. The West African market is estimated at 600,000 tonnes, though it is poorly exploited, and the Middle East is another potential market, representing almost 150,000 tonnes.