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Value chain development for mango (Mangifera indica) around Outamba Kilimi National Park in Sierra Leone: constraints and opportunities for smallholders

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Background: Mango is an important tree fruit in Sierra Leone since it participates to food and nutritional security mainly in rural areas. However, the economic potential of this tree fruit is still untapped to a large extent. This situation is due to high loss and poor handling at post-harvest stage preventing farmers from meeting the quality standard for different markets. The aims of this paper were to analyse the constrains and opportunities for mango value chain development, as well as community-based copping strategies developed by chain actors to valorise the existing opportunities for better market development and forest conservation. Methods: Data were collected in four sites around the Outamba Kilimi National Park, Sierra Leone, through focus group discussions with men and women groups of 25-35 mango value chain actors in each site. Results: Results indicated that mango value chain is composed of nursery suppliers, mango producers, harvesters and assemblers, processors and traders. Main constraints encountered by both men and women are lack of: (1) polythene bags and improved mango seedlings, mineral fertilisers, herbicides, pesticide, (2) training on appropriate mango production practices, (3) appropriate harvesting tools, (4) appropriate processing knowledge and equipment, as well as high transportation cost. Hand weeding, use of available organic fertiliser, seeking of advices from colleagues farmers, equipment from other processors who own local processing equipment were some of the coping strategies developed by various actors along mango value chains. Soil fertility, favourable climatic conditions, technical and financial support from direct or indirect actors through training on good agronomic practices, processing and marketing techniques, availability of hired labour to perform farming and processing operations, existence of local processing plant to serve as outlet for fresh mango were identified as main factors to be exploited to improve mango value chains around Outamba Kilimi National Park in Sierra Leone. Conclusions: Our results provided insight into the various factors limiting the performance of mango value chains around Outamba Kilimi National Park in Sierra Leone. This baseline study will help in designing and implementing appropriate strategies to promote mango value chains in the areas around the Outamba Kilimi National Park. © 2017 The Author(s).

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