Through the Feed the Future Senegal Program for Increasing Investment in Agriculture, Africa Lead is supporting the West African Regional Mango Alliance/ l’Alliance Régionale de la Mangue de l’Afrique de l’Ouest (WARMA/ARMAO) to organize its first General Assembly meeting which will be held in September 2018 in Dakar, Senegal. WARMA/ARMAO is a professional association comprised of actors involved in the mango value chain (nurseries, farmers, rural assemblers, processors and exporters). The member countries are: Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Mali and Senegal.According to recent news reports, mangoes are the next ‘super food.’ Not just any mango: African mangoes. They’re touted as being packed with healthy and beneficial nutrients. As food trends go, whether mangoes will live up this expectation, remains to be seen. What is already proven is that there is a growing interest in this sweet, tasty, tropical fruit. West African mango growers know they have a product that is wanted on the global market. The potential for export is great.
From May 31 to June 1, 2018, in preparation for this meeting, Moctar Fofana, WARMA Vice President, came to Senegal from Mali to meet with counterparts at IAMS (Interprofession des acteurs de la Mangue du Senegal/The Senegalese Mango Value Chain Inter-professional Organization) and key government representatives. Mr. Fofana is also President of the Mango Value Chain Inter-professional Organization (Interprofession de la Filière Mangue du Mali/ IFM-Mali). In working sessions with IAMS, a program agenda was drafted and a roadmap identifying the roles and responsibilities of each stakeholder in the preparation process was outlined.
Mr. Fofana, Mafouze Aidara, President of IAMS and key IAMS officers met with Makhtar Lakh, Secretary General for the Ministry of Commerce. Mr. Lakh reiterated the government’s political will to support the mango sector at national and regional levels. He offered his division’s full support for the upcoming event, and assistance needed to help facilitate the organizing of this important gathering.
The team also met with Dr. Papa Abdoulaye Seck, Senegal Minister of Agriculture and Rural Equipment (MAER), Gilles Abraham Mbaye, representing the Minister of Commerce, Alioune Sarr, and Boubacar Drame, Horticulture Technical Advisor at the Ministry of Commerce.
“The export of fruits and vegetables cannot be developed without strong involvement of the MAER,” said Minister Seck. He encouraged IAMS to work more closely with the Ministry of Commerce’s technical advisor.
In 2016, WARMA was created as the result of discussions and exchanges that took place during first-ever “Mango Week Symposium” which was held in Dakar from 31 May to 3 June 2016. This event was organized by the Senegalese Ministry of Commerce and the United Sates Agency for International Development (USAID) coordinator of Feed the Future activities and facilitated by Africa Lead. The upcoming WARMA General Assembly will be the alliance’s first general assembly since its inception. The general assembly will provide an opportunity for the membership to adopt formal WARMA rules, elect new officers, and develop a roadmap for the coming years.
Mr. Fofana expressed his satisfaction with the outcomes of the discussions held and the progress made in the planning process. “It was a very productive visit. We are looking forward to our general assembly meeting,” he said.
The WARMA General Assembly is scheduled for late September 2018 in Dakar. Africa Lead will continue its support to WARMA and IAMS in preparing for this event.