Côte d’Ivoire: the mango sector sees its 2020 prospects clouded

Launched on 12 April, the Ivorian mango campaign is already threatened by the paralysis affecting the world economy, particularly in European countries, the main export markets.

As the third largest supplier to the European market after Brazil and Peru, Ivorian mango is not expected to escape the general decline in activity that is looming in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. Pascal Nembelessini Silué, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Mango Interprofession in Côte d’Ivoire, estimates that for the 2020 campaign, « […] the losses caused by Covid-19 will be 65%. Losses that are felt throughout the entire value chain. As a result, the sector will not reach its objective of 35,000 to 45,000 tonnes exported in 2020, after having shipped nearly 32,000 tonnes of mangoes in 2019.
Even the private operators are not very happy about this. Quoted by the specialized site Commodafrica, Dominique Malézieux, General Manager of SCB, the Ivorian subsidiary of the Fruit Company, confirmed that the Ivorian mango campaign « has started just as alarmingly as in other producing countries in the region (Guinea, Senegal …). ) », as a number of import contracts with customers in France, Spain, Italy and the Netherlands have already been suspended or cancelled due to the unprecedented restrictive measures put in place to curb the spread of the coronavirus: ships blocked in ports, air freight almost interrupted, land transport reduced….

Main West African mango exporting countries to the European Union, between 2015 and 2019 (data in thousands of tonnes)
Source: CIRAD

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With the shock of the coronavirus having passed, however, the long-term outlook for the industry should remain positive. Intended for local consumption until the end of the 1990s, mango production then successfully turned to export for the European market: from 10 000 tonnes per year in the early 2000s, Côte d’Ivoire has more than tripled its exports since then, with the country shipping nearly 32 000 tonnes of mangoes abroad in 2019. Cultivated by about 7,000 producers grouped in cooperatives and a few private farmers, mangoes are now the third most important export fruit in Côte d’Ivoire, after pineapple and banana.