Mango farming in Africa can be done easily mainly due to the fact that mangoes are relatively drought resistant. Mangoes can be grown in places with about 650mm of rain annually but they do much better in areas with between 1200mm and 1500mm of rainfall.
Most mango species are grown from the seeds though for disease control, higher yields and faster maturity. For a modern Mango farming in Africa, the grafted mangoes would be ideal. The article will not deal with the details of grafting but will concentrate on the growing of already prepared seedlings from reputable sources.
We begin with the soil preparation for the mango farm. Soil should be well drained and fertile. It is important to note that the soil depth should be at least three meters so as to allow space for the root system, therefore shallow soils and rocky areas do not foster mango farming. The soil should be loose and holes of 90cm X 90cm X 100cm for planting should be done with a spacing of between 8 meters and 12 meters between the trees depending on climate with the latter being for dyer areas. Compost should be mixed with the soil dug from the holes and some put in the holed to be used for planting. Plant the seedling into the hole and put the soil already mixed with compost into the hole and make the soil firm on the seedling.
For the first year or two of the mango plant’s life, watering is very important. The plant should be given at least 3 liters of water every three days to keep it growing. Intercropping is fine for the first few years before the mango tree is able to produce fruit and become economically beneficial. Weeding should be done thoroughly below the plant’s canopy. Pruning should be done regularly to maintain the height of the tree at one meter and also to allow very few stems to grow, maybe 5 or 6 so as to increase yield. Mangoes are damaged by wind so wind breakers are important to protect the mango trees.
A mango farm will produce the first crop after 4 or 5 years. It is important to keep the mango trees well ventilated and the area around the tree clean to get maximum yield and prevent diseases and pests. Yields can be greatly improved by harvesting a third of the mangoes in a tree at every particular moment so as to increase the size of the mangoes. Mangoes can be protected from pests by smoking the trees regularly. Smoking also assists in flowering. Some of the common pests affecting the mango farming in Africa include, the fruit fly, black fly, white fly, aphid, bugs and seed weevil. Mango farming in Africa could affected by diseases and conditions like scales, Anthracnose, Powdery mildew, Bacterial black spot, and Stem-end rot among others.
Harvest can be done from 5 years onwards with the optimal production being at between 8-12 years. Harvesting can be done for up to 20 years before the mango tree becomes economically unviable.