Huge overseas demand for mangoes putting strain on local market
– earned $38M in exports last year
By Leonard Gildarie
As international markets struggle to recover from the global economic crisis, at least two crops in Guyana are recording unprecedented gains from exports.
Last year, mangoes earned $38M, more than a $7M increase in exports from 2008.
While it did not mirror the explosive growth in exports of coconuts which earned an estimated $120M last year, a tenfold increase from 2008, local officials are heartened by the developments. They disclosed that the Canadian market has been a lucrative one with 356,000 tonnes alone being exported there in 2009.
“The demand for mangoes in Canada is so high that it is creating a supply situation locally,” said Nizam Hassan, General Manager of the New Guyana Marketing Corporation (New GMC).
Several other markets are being explored but supply is fast becoming a major challenge.
According to Minister of Agriculture, Robert Persaud, the development of the mangoes and coconuts industries has been one of the larger plans to fully diversify the agricultural industry.
“It is what we have been saying for a long time. Guyana has the ability to produce food to sustain itself and then export large quantities.
There are huge opportunities out there and to survive, we simply have to look beyond the traditional crops.”
Export figures for mangoes saw a dramatic increase starting 2005, when only 171,000 tonnes was exported mainly to Canada.
However, the revenues almost tripled in the next year climbing from $8.5M to $22M. It continued rising and in 2008 almost 441,000 tonnes were recorded as exports, earning $31M.
Although, exports dipped last year to 358,000 tonnes, earnings jumped to $38M.
For this year alone, as at the end of March, 61,000 tonnes were exported, gaining revenues of more than $8M.
More than 90 per cent of the exports were bought by Canada with the US, St. Maarten and Barbados being the other expert locations.
Coconut exports dramatically increased tenfold last year earning $120M as compared to almost $16M in 2008.
In 2009, exports of coconut products, which included coconuts, copra, water, crude oil and choka, saw earnings reaching over $500M when compared to almost $200M the previous year.
Copra exports also jumped 60 per cent to 3,249 tonnes earning $249M while coconut water exports stood at 32 tonnes in 2008 when compared to the 112 tonnes done last year and earning $10M.