WEST AFRICA – Fruit fly (Aminata Diouf) has compromised the quality of products destined for the global market from West Africa, where mangoes, bananas, and pineapples constitute significant exports with a critical internal challenge for mango exporters.

Aminata Diouf, General Manager of the Nema Agricultural Estate, a key player in the sector, highlighted the adverse effects of measures implemented to control the fruit fly in 2023.

These measures, she explained, disrupted operations, and escalated costs throughout the value chain.

To combat the parasite, authorities imposed a tax of 15 CFA francs per kilogram of fruit, with exporters bearing 10 CFA francs and producers covering the remainder.

Diouf noted that the abrupt implementation of this tax, just a month before the campaign launch, prompted some producers to divert mangoes to the local market or sell at reduced prices to maintain clientele.

Consequently, exporters, faced with lost contracts and decreased profit margins, suffered substantial financial losses, amounting to EUR 500 (USD 543.30) per container over two months.

In a market where competition with South American countries like Brazil and Peru on the European front is already fierce, the levy further jeopardizes the competitiveness of Senegalese exporters.

Diouf emphasized the urgent need to repeal or revise this tax before the upcoming 2024 mango export campaign in May, stressing the lack of tangible changes since 2022.

While mango consumption flourishes in Europe, offering lucrative prospects, Senegal’s ability to capitalize hinges on progress in combating the fruit fly and minimizing interceptions, which surged to unprecedented levels in 2022.

Diouf underscored the necessity for sustained efforts and substantial investments in eradicating the fruit fly.

She acknowledged the challenges ahead, citing the laxity of some farmers in adhering to prescribed tasks.

Despite the government’s efforts, achieving widespread eradication remains daunting. Diouf advocated for the adoption of fumigation and boiling water immersion systems, like those utilized in Peru, Brazil, and Mexico.

However, implementing such technologies demands considerable financial resources, currently beyond the means of many farmers.

Diouf stressed the imperative of increased private investment, facilitated by bank support, and enhanced governmental involvement to combat the fruit fly effectively.

Only through concerted efforts and adequate funding, she concluded, can Senegal fortify its position in the competitive global mango market and sustainably enhance its export capabilities.

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