Mangoes are off season and therefore the price increase is expected. It’s a pity we have to import mangoes from Burundi and Uganda. The Eastern Province’s districts of Nyagatare, Gatsibo, Kirehe and Ngoma have the best soils and climate for mango growing.
With a typical tropical savannah and sandy loam soils, these districts have massive potential for mango production. But traditional culture has eaten our social fabric so deep, many of the residents of this area would rather have one hundred heads of indigenous cattle occupying 10 hectares of land and get one million francs per month, than two hectares of mangoes capable of bringing in Rwf15m per harvest.
According to the most recent gross margin analysis for commercial mango farming, one hectare of mangoes has the capacity of producing between 15 to 20 tons of mangoes per single harvest. This would make a mango farmer in Nyagatare walk to the bank with 15,000 tonnes, multiplied by the cost per kilo of average farm price (Rwf 2,000), equaling Rwf 30,000,000.
There is no cow of any breed worldwide that will give you thirty million francs per year being managed on one hectare. Hopefully our people will one day come to terms with these hard facts. But meanwhile we are importing.
James Munanura, Makerere University Kampala, Uganda
Reaction to the story, “Mango prices go up”, (The New Times, September 14)