Mangoes and oranges can be rewarding if a farmer adopts the best practices.
However, while the tree may yield well, farmers make losses due to poor harvesting and storage methods. But how do you identify the ready-to-harvest fruit?
Maturity Period: 12 – 16 weeks after fruit set
• Maturity: Some indicators of maturity include:
– Well-developed shoulders
– Skin changes from green to yellow
– Colour of flesh: The flesh around the seed turn from white to yellow
– Sugar content increases
• Harvesting: Use secateurs. Do not knock or drop the fruits. Fruits should be harvested with 3 – 4 cm stalks. Drain the latex from the fruits by turning.
• Yields: 10,000 – 15,000kg per acre from the 7th year
Containers & packaging materials
• For the export market, pack in a single layer in fibreboard cartons of 4 – 5 kg weight. The fruits per carton range from 6 – 24. The cartons should be well-ventilated.
Value addition techniques: Sorting, cleaning & grading
• Sorting: Remove diseased, mis-shaped, damaged and unripe fruits and foreign matter.
• Cleaning: Cleaning with a clean damp cloth.
• Grading: According to size, colour, and texture (Class 1 & Class 11).
Value addition facilities
Government of Uganda has put in place fruit processing facilities to aid in value addition in the fruit subsector.
An example of such factories is Yumbe Mango Processing factory which is a value additional initiative by the Government of Uganda through the NAADS Secretariat in partnership with Food and Nutrition Solutions Ltd (FONUS), Aringa Mango Farmers’ Cooperative Society and Uganda Development Corporation (UDC).
The project is a fulfilment of the H.E. the President’s pledge to support Food and Nutrition Solutions Ltd (FONUS) (a company started by Makerere University Professors in Food Science) to complete the project. FONUS are the vision bearers of the value addition initiative.
According to MAAIF, The 6 metric ton per hour factory is designed based on the local mangoes grown in the West Nile region and a ready market for the farmers.
The establishment of the factory is intended to put a stop to the exploitation of farmers by the middlemen who buy mangoes cheaply.
The factory is established in partnership with UDC under the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives (MTIC) which has built the capacity of the farmers under their umbrella association Aringa Mango Farmers’ Cooperative Society.
Currently, 90% of the works have been completed with the processing equipment fully installed.
The remaining works include the construction of stores, the perimeter wall and the compound.
Government has so far injected sh8.9 bn into the project.