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Harvesting Mangoes The Right Way  

by Harvest Money Editor
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The mango is a stone fruit produced from numerous species of tropical trees belonging to the flowering plant genus Mangifera, cultivated mostly for their edible fruit.

Most of these species are found in nature as wild mangoes. Worldwide, there are several hundred cultivars of mango.

Depending on the cultivar, mango fruit varies in size, shape, sweetness, skin colour, and flesh colour, which may be pale yellow, gold, or orange.

Three types of mangoes common in Uganda include Small canopy: Florigon, Glenn, Dancan, Early Gold, Erwin, Palmar, Palvin.

Medium canopy and fairly early yielding varieties: Zillate, Pinero, Alfonso, Apple, Kent, Keitt, Tommy.

Large canopy and fairly early yielding varieties: Boribo, Ssejjembe, Bire. Bire, Ssejjembe, Ssu and Kate are some of the local selections.

Harvesting

Maturity Period: 12 – 16 weeks after fruit set. Some indicators of maturity include:

  • Well developed hedges
  • Skin changes from green to yellow
  • Sugar content increases.
  • Farmer can find this out by tasting some of the fruits
  • Do not knock or drop the fruits. Fruits should be harvested with 3cm – 4cm stalk
  • Drain the latex from the fruits by turning them upside down

Post-harvest handling

Containers & Packaging Materials

  • For export market, pack in a single layer in fibre board cartons of 4kg – 5kg weight. The fruits per carton range from 6 – 24. The cartons should be well ventilated. Each carton costs sh2,000.

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 & Class11).
  • Mangoes can be processed into juice, dried and packed.

Risk factors

Some losses arising from rotting are experienced, where fruits are kept in farm storage for a number of days.

This specifically happens in situations where traders give the impression that they prefer fruits that had spent some time in farm storage because the skin would develop some resistance to breakage and, thus minimise damage during transportation.

Diseases and pests

Agronomists say the fruit fly is the major pest that attacks the mangoes. These insects lead to loss of 80% of the orchard.

It is recommended that the affected fruits be removed and buried immediately.

For an acre, one can buy at least six fruit fly traps. Each costs sh20,000 which makes sh120,000.

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