Scientists from Mendel University in Brno are assisting with sustainable mango production in the Kampong Speu area of Cambodia. With the help of Czech know-how, local producers have started producing solar-powered fruit dryers. This is of the utmost importance, as much of the mango crop has been wasted up until now because locals have not been able to process it in time. With the new dryers, local farmers are better able to cope with overproduction.
Petr Němec from the Institute of Forest Botany, Dendrology and Geobiocoenology, at MENDELU’s Faculty of Forestry described how quickly the tropical fruit tends to rot. “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. 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.”