In early 2014, Rays of Hope Centre planted 213 mango tree seedlings on their compound in Ayikuma to start its own mango plantation. Over the course of the last two years the seedlings have grown to trees and are soon going to bear fruits for our first mango harvest. From the beginning, ROHC has regularly consulted a friend and experienced mango farmer, Mr. Bismarck Asare who himself has two mango plantations. He helped us with his expertise to buy crossed (out of local and foreign breeds), strong and potential seedlings as well as to assist in the planting and maintaining process. Just a few weeks ago he visited the mango farm to introduce a proper pruning to our farm workers and he was very happy to see, that the trees are in a good condition and developing very well.
When it comes to starting off a mango plantation, one must have a lot of patience, because it takes the trees three to four years and a lot of care to grow strong and enable them to bear the maximum fruits in the future. During those years the young mango seedlings have to be protected from enemies like weeds, fungi and parasites, such as termites.
In the first two years, the blossoms on the trees, which grow into fruits, need to be cut away, so the tree develops strong roots for a healthy growing. Apart from the strong African sun and the fertile soil, our trees once a while get fertilizers like poultry dung, calcium, phosphate or ion from an agriculture store.
This year we have decided to let one branch’s blossoms develop without cutting them, to see if the trees can bear fruits nicely. We can joyfully say that the outcome – these mangoes from our plantation tasted exceptionally sweet and were extraordinary big.
Pruning is a very important work, by which the farmer will cut off the inner and weaker branches of the mango trees, in order to let them develop more new branches to the sides to produce more fruits. Besides the pruning, our highly motivated farm worker Henry Oppong is very conscious on the well-being of the young mango trees and takes care to release them from disturbing weeds and insects by weeding and spraying, “feeds” them with fertilizers when necessary and “barbers” them for a proper development.
He is instructed on a daily basis by Bro. Teye, who is a neighbour of WEM-Centre and also contracted for technical/maintenance issues in the Centre on regular basis. Since June 2016, the new farm team of WEM-Centre is completed with Bro. Richmond, ROHC’s general Administrator and Fundraiser, who is managing the farm.
At this point, we would like to express our gratitude to Bro. Jonathan Mumuni, who have formally managed the farm and who was contributing his part to initiate this mango farm successfully but resigned from his position in May 2016. We are proud of him, see him as one of the pioneers and we keep up our relationship whilst he is still the football coach of our beneficiaries in WEM-Centre.
In 2017, by the grace of God, we’ll experience our first serious mango harvest and therefore income, so stay tuned for more information and pics!!