Brno Scientists Help With Sustainable Mango Production in Cambodia

Thanks to Czech scientists from Mendel University (MENDELU) in Brno, farmers in Cambodia have mango dryers that can solve the problem of often rotting overproduction of this quickly-decaying fruit. Photo: MENDELU archive.

Brno, Dec 14 (BD) – Scientists from Mendel University are assisting with sustainable mango production in the Kampong Speu area of Cambodia. Thanks to Czech know-how, local producers have started producing solar-powered fruit dryers. Until now, much of the mango crop has been wasted because locals have not been able to process it in time. With the new dryers, local farmers are better able to cope with overproduction.

Solar powered fruit dehydrators. Photo: MENDELU archive

Mango is the second most cultivated fruit in Cambodia, just behind bananas. But the problem is that it rots quickly. “In addition, the harvest season is relatively short,” said Petr Němec from the Institute of Forest Botany, Dendrology and Geobiocoenology, at MENDELU’s Faculty of Forestry. “Therefore, locals must either sell it below cost relatively soon or let it rot. So drying this fruit will help them a lot. For them, it means a more stable supply both for their own consumption and for sale.”

Czech scientists have already trained farmers in mango processing, packaging and also marketing the sale of fruit on the local and foreign markets.

Locals learning about mango processing. Photo: MENDELU archive

The dryers also help with the idea of fair trade. “The vast majority of exports are in the form of fresh mango, i.e. without added value,” said Němec. “Then, for example, Cambodian mangoes are sold cheaply to neighboring Vietnam, where this is further processed into various products that are sold at higher prices. The added value therefore does not remain in Cambodia, but in another country.”

Locals using the fruit dehydrators. Photo: MENDELU archive

The technology is completely new and innovative for the locals. Three solar dryers were handed over to three local farming communities. “Mechanization will bring them higher financial returns from their own harvest and can also support food self-sufficiency,” Němec added.

One of the goals of this United Nations-funded project was to bring Cambodian farmers closer to the world of national and international trade. Czech partner company Holistic Solutions s.r.o. offered them cooperation as a customer. 

Cambodia is one of the five largest mango producers in the world. Mango exports have grown significantly in recent years, and currently stand at around 200,000 tons per year.

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