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Worst Mango Crop in 40 Years Hurts Families in Southern Senegal

Families in Senegal's Casamance region are suffering large economic losses after a 70 percent drop in mango production this summer, due to last year's unusually warm winter.

This year's mango production in southern Senegal has fallen between 70 and 90 percent in some areas, says Mamadou Conte, the regional director of rural development in Ziguinchor, the area's capital. Conte says that from December through February, the cooler temperatures usually provide the right climate for flowers to bloom on the mango plants. But this year, he adds, the temperatures were unseasonably high and flowers did not bloom.

The repercussions of a depressed mango crop can be severe on the local population, adds Conte. Mangoes are one of the regions primary crops. They not only provide a source of nutrition for both people and animals in Southern Senegal, but they also provide a source of revenue.

Conte says during the summer months, many farmers and their families typically sell their mangoes and rely on the fruit for income. This year's deficit crop has caused substantial revenue problems, he adds.

A village chief who is a mango farmer outside of Ziguinchor, Seny Sane, says he has seen obvious consequences in Ziguinchor and beyond. "There are no mangoes," he says.

Farmers in the region normally produce about 30,000 tons of mangoes each year, according to Conte. But this year they do not expect to hit anywhere near that amount, and he says this is the worse mango crop in 40 years.