Fruits are generally known to flourish according to seasons backed up by the forces of nature. Categorically, we find ourselves in the mango season, where the highly demanded fruit is found everywhere as it can be identified in different sizes and taste in the middle belt state of Nigeria called “Benue State”.
Close sources to the Middle-belt state can affirm that the common varieties of mango grown in Benue include Johnbull, Brokin, Peter, Julie, Dawshia, Hindi, Mummy, Tommy etc.
Despite Ushongo, which is a L.G.A in the State maintaining its status as a land of fruits, yet most of these mangoes are wasted at the peak of maturity as a result of inadequate means of preservation (usually between March and May).
The Deputy Director of Research and Collaboration at the Centre for Food Technology and Research (CEFTER), African Centre of Excellence for Control of Post-Harvest Losses at the Benue State University (BSU), Makurdi, Dr. Sylvester Adejo, stated that mango was an excellent source of Vitamin A and flavonoids like beta carotene, beta cryptexanthia, as well as rich in pre-biotic, dietary, fibre, mineral, among others.
The Deputy Director of the research centre stated that there are certain compounds in mango that have been known to contain antioxidant properties and were essential for vision, he thus cited the Vitamin A component which he claimed helpa in maintaining healthy sight, mucous and skin, even as consumption of the fruit (rich in carotene) protects and keeps individuals free from cancers of the lung and cavity.
He said mango also had non-food uses as the peel was used as source of anacardic acid, the bark as a source of tannin for curing of leather and the seed oil used for the production of cosmetics, while the kernels were used for extraction of starch for animal feed.
Thus, the aforementioned values of mango fruit shows that Benue state can actualise the instantaneous reduction of wastage in the state and also enhance its market value which is most times affected if the fruit receives a slight bruise during picking, packaging and while stocking for transportation.
However, some organisations that value the well being of people lives in the society have been making efforts towards managing the wastes, with the most significant being the Managing Director of PE & I Foods Nigeria Limited, producers of Benue Mango Flakes, Gboko, Engr. Isaac Sar, constructed a drier with wood and glass.