Scientists in Uganda develop technique to boost mango production during off-season

Source:Xinhua Published: 2017/2/14 8:34:38

Scientists in Uganda have developed a technique of increasing mango production during off-season in a bid to increase household incomes.

Researchers at the state-owned National Crop Resources Research Institute, Namulonge in central Uganda are exploring a technique called Foliar Flower Induction to ensure mango production even during the off-season.

Gabriel Ddamulira, the lead researcher told Xinhua in an interview recently that reagents, also known as flower inducer-potassium nitrate is applied on the mango plant one month before and after regular mango flowering periods.

The inducer helps the mangoes to flower again and bare more fruits just after the normal harvest. This, according to the researchers will ensure year-round harvests.

Ddamulira said preliminary experiments have shown positive results, noting that studies will be concluded by the end of this year.

Mango is a major fruit in Uganda, with immense potential to generate income and nutritional security to small holder farmers.

The production season for most mango varieties in Uganda is from November to January, leaving a vacuum in mango supplies once harvesting is over.

During this period, large volumes of mangoes are imported from neighboring Kenya but even then they cannot satisfy the demand and are highly priced.

Ddamulira said the money spent on importing mangoes from Kenya could instead be used to grow mangoes in Uganda if appropriate technologies are developed.

"This research work will boost farmers' incomes and livelihoods given that the price of mangoes doubles during the off-season period due to scarcity," he said.

"Production of off-season mangoes will heighten Uganda's regional competitiveness as the country will be able to tap into the growing regional demand even when mangoes are out of season," he added.

Ministry of agriculture figures show that Uganda produces annually 875,000 metric tonnes of mangoes. It imports around 1,537 metric tonnes. Most of the mangoes are for home consumption.

Ddamulira argues that if production increases, then juice factories may be able to buy mangoes from the farmers. Most juice factories in Uganda import mango concentrate.

Posted in: BIOLOGY

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