This will be a ‘mango Christmas’! This is because prices of mangoes have been going down drastically for the last two weeks. A survey across major markets indicates that nearly all varieties of mangoes are in plentiful supply.
In September and October, plus the first half of November, only a few varieties, mostly imported ones, were on the market.
At the beginning of December, harvests started in Bamunanika, Luwero and parts of eastern Uganda. Prices have since started dropping.
At the moment, a mango goes for sh1,500 in Nakasero market and sh1,000 at Kalerwe. Juice mangoes are even cheaper.
Prices are dropping because there is increased supply of mangoes especially, the ‘Luwero’ varieties. The peak harvest is set to continue through December.
Soils and site selection
Mangoes require deep soils with good drainage not necessarily fertile but mangoes can thrive in a wide range of soil types.
Planting and plant selection
Albert Kunihira, a trainer at the annual Harvest Money Expo, says it is highly recommended that planting materials for the improved mango varieties should be grafted or budded (shoot joined on rootstock). This practice reduces time to flowering to 2-3 years instead of 6-7 years if seed is planted. Suitable rootstocks are used which withstand soil born diseases. Most trees bear two times a year.
Mango spacing depends on the rainfall pattern and soil fertility. In Uganda, the recommended spacing for optimum plant population is 8m x 8m, giving 144 plants per hectare (58 plants per acre).
Planting medium fine field is adequate. Dig holes 60cm deep and 60cm wide, while separating top soil from sub (red) soil. Mix well decomposed manure with top soil at 1:1 ratio and put back into the hole to cover the first 30cm. Make a small hole within and plant in the grafted seedling. The plastic bags used for potting should be removed before planting.
When covering, the hole a basin should be made around each plant for harvesting water. Each plant should be mulched around and a cage or perimeter fencing put in place to avoid damage by animals. One month after transplanting, the grafting tape should be removed.