Scientific Name
Mangifera indica
Order / Family
Sapindales: Anacardiaceae
Local Names
Embe (Swahili)
Pests & Diseases:

Geographical Distribution in Africa

Geographical Distribution of Mango in Africa.Updated July 2019. Source FAOSTAT


General Information and Agronomic Aspects

The Mango fruit is one of the most important tropical fruits. It is native to the Indian Monsoon region and has been cultivated for the last 4000 years. It was introduced to East Africa in the 14th century. Mango has now become an important domestic and export crop in Kenya and Tanzania. 

Mango has many uses: ripened fruits are eaten fresh and used to make juice or marmalade. They can also be dried and made into candy. All remains from the fruits can be used to feed animals. The young leaves for example are a very good cattle feed. 



A wide range of mango cultivars is grown in Kenya. Local varieties include:

Apple, Batawi, Boribo, Dodo, Kiarabu, Kiimji, Kitovu, Mayai, Ngowe, Peach, Sabre and Shikio Punda. Among these, Apple and Ngowe are in high demand for local and export markets, particularly in the Middle East. Apple, Haden, Keitt, Kent, Ngowe and Tommy Atkins are important cultivars for the export markets.

Nutritive Value per 100 g of edible Portion

Raw or Cooked Mango Food
(Calories / %Daily Value*)
(g / %DV)
(g / %DV)
(g / %DV)
(g / %DV)
(mg / %DV)
(mg / %DV)
(mg / %DV)
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
Vitamin B 6
Vitamin B 12
(mg / %DV)
(mg / %DV)
(g / %DV)
Mango raw 65.0 / 3% 17.0 / 6% 0.3 / 0% 0.5 / 1% 10.0 / 1% 11.0 / 1% 0.1 / 1% 156 / 4% 765 IU / 15% 27.7 / 46% 0.1 / 7% 0.0 / 0% 0.1 / 4% 0.1 / 3% 0.5

*Percent Daily Values (DV) are based on a 2000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower, depending on your calorie needs. 


Climate conditions, soil and water management

Mango grows best in tropical summer rain regions, at temperatures between 24°C and 28°C. Once a mango tree is well established, it is very resistant to drought. Mango needs a dry period or cooler temperatures to start blossoming and produce fruits. Rainfall during flowering seriously affects fruit setting. In the tropical regions that do not vary in rainfall or temperature, the trees will not produce any fruits. Mangoes grow well below an altitude of 1000 m. Above 1200 m production is often poor, but some cultivars such as "Sabre" and "Harris" are reported to yield well at up to 1800 m. 

Mango will grow on a rainfall as little as 650 mm per year, but do better on higher rainfall of around 1500 mm. 
Mango grow in most soils if they are well drained. Ideal for good growth is a deep (at least three m), fertile soil. Avoid poor, shallow, rocky and alkaline soils. A pH of 5.5 to 7.5 is desirable. Young trees should be irrigated as soon as the dry season starts. Older trees need a dry period of at least three months to start flowering. When the fruit is developing, it is very important to water the plant regularly. In Kenya, the major production season is December to March. 


Propagation and planting

Mango is propagated both vegetatively and by seed. Nurserymen and farmers should be aware that not all cultivars propagated by seed will produce seedlings true to the parent tree. Two groups can be differentiated:

  1. Polyembryonic cultivars from seed are generally true to the parent tree and they include local cultivars like "Batawi", "Boribo", "Dodo", "Ngowe", "Peach" and "Sabre". In addition to the sexual seedling (which has to be culled out), seeds of these cultivars produce up to 5 nucellar embryos, each genetically identical to the parent tree.
  2. Monoembryonic cultivars like "Haden", "Kent", "Tommy Atkins" and "Van Dyke" can only prppagate true-to-type by using vegetative methods. Vegetative propagation has many advantages (e.g. early bearing, smaller trees, etc) and should be encouraged. For this purpose, rootstock seedlings must be made available. "Dodo", "Peach" and "Sabre" are commonly used rootstocks in Kenya.


Mango seeds quickly loose their viability. Use healthy, fresh seeds from well-grown, mature trees. Wash the seeds and dry them in the shade for a few days. Sow them at a spacing of 15 x 30 cm and five cm deep. Place them on their sides; the most prominently curved edge upwards, so that they produce a straight stem. To speed up germination, the hard husk can be removed before sowing. The best place to cultivate seedlings is in half-shadow. Seeds will sprout in 1 to 2 weeks and, as soon as the first flush of growth hardens (about 4 weeks later and about 10 cm high), they are transplanted into containers (about 18 x 24 cm). Plants are ready for grafting when they have reached pencil-thickness at about 20 cm above soil level. Cleft graft with scion of improved cultivars. Sources of scions of improved cultivars in Kenya include Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) (Embu, Mtwapa, Thika), prison farms or any farm with the desired cultivars. Shade the grafted plants and water frequently. Grafted seedlings are ready for transplanting about 4 months after grafting. 


Select the site for the orchard carefully. Deep soil cultivation by ploughing is recommended. Clear the field of trees, bushes and weeds. Transplanting should be done at the beginning of the rains. The planting hole should be 60 x 60 cm and 100 cm deep. Under dry conditions, the hole should be bigger (about 90 x 90 cm and 100 cm deep). The spacing is 9 x 9 to 14 x 14 m between trees depending on variety and growth habit of the mango variety chosen. Mix a minimum of two buckets of good compost and a handful of Mijingu rock phosphate with the dug out soil, before returning the soil to the hole along with the young mango plant. Firm the soil around the plant. Water well and mulch. Irrigation should only be necessary to see the young tree through the first year. 



Keep the area directly under the tree canopy free from weeds. During the first five years, intercropping with annual crops is recommended to maximise income until an economical mango yield is achieved. In young plantations mulching around the tree helps to suppress weeds and to retain soil moisture. Mango trees normally need pruning in order to shape young trees. Smoking of mango trees, apart from controlling pests also induces good flowering. 

Formative pruning is done in the first years of the young tree to guide the tree into the desired shape. In the first year, cap the seedling at 1 m height in order to produce a spreading framework of branches. In the second year, prune to leave 4 to 5 well spaced branches to be the future main branches. Benefits from pruning: 

  • Fruit is produced on the outside of parts of the tree
  • Fruit hold to maturity on the trees
  • Open tree structure allows for easy harvesting
  • Tree produces larger fruits
  • Crops can be grown under the trees
  • Tree benefits from natural conditions of sun and wind movement. This helps in reducing relative humidity within the canopy and also creating environment less conducive to disease development.
  • It controls tree height and prevents excessive spreading of limbs.


Structural pruning should be done after fruit harvest: The canopy should be at least one m above the ground. Remove all dead branches and all sucker branches from the main structural branches. Prune canopy to allow sunlight to penetrate and reach the ground under the tree. 


Improve fruit production by:

  • Keeping the orchard area clean
  • Removing all ripe fruit and weeds from around the tree
  • Removing 1/3 of fruit after fruit set to get better size of remaining fruit.

Mango trees are susceptible to wind damage. Therefore, they should be protected from strong winds by windbreaks on the upwind side of prevailing winds. 


 Clear excessive vegetation regularly from beneath the trees and use as mulch. 

Mango fruits and farmers inspecting a mango tree
Mango fruits and farmers inspecting a mango tree

© A. M. Varela & A.A. Seif, icipe





Flowering usually begins after a period of dormancy due to cool or dry weather. Smallholder mango farmers usually induce flowering with smoke. 

A mango plantation will supply its first commercially marketable amount of fruit around 4 to 5 years after being planted, and are in good production after eight years reaching full maturity at some 20 years of age. One tree should produce 200 to 500 fruits per year and varieties like "Dodo" and "Boribo" can produce 1000 fruits per year. Most varieties show biennial tendencies in production and a poor harvest may follow a good one. Selection should be based on varieties showing annual bearing tendencies.

Harvest mango fruit at the mature-green stage, when they are hard and green. A mature fruit has well-developed "cheeks". Pick fruit by hand. Clip them off with a long stalk of about 2 to 3 cm and pack the fruit in a single layer with the stalks facing downwards in the box or crate. It is important that the latex dripping from the stalk drops onto an absorbent material (for example tissue paper placed at the bottom of the container). Although mature mangoes ripen fairly rapidly, they have a poor tolerance to temperatures below 10°C, especially when freshly picked. Ripe fruits can, however, be stored as low as 7 to 8° C without developing chilling injury.



 15 tons/ha per year can be achieved from the 7th year onwards if proper husbandry is followed. 


Post-harvest treatment

Hot water treatment (HWT) is an effective post-harvest treatment method for mango. Dipping newly harvested fruits into hot water minimises fruit fly damage and anthracnose. The fruit is perishable and should be marketed as quickly as possible.

For more information on hot water treatment click here. 


Mango hygiene by smoking

Mango smoking reduces insect population drastically and improves fruit setting. 
Smoke pots with holes in the bottom for air intake, containing wood shavings or sawdust with a topping of aromatic herbs (lemongrass etc) are hung at strategic places within the mango tree and the sawdust lit to produce a good amount of smoke which chases insects away from the tree. 


Mango hygeine by smoking
Mango hygeine by smoking

(c) A. M. Varela & A.A. Seif, icipe



Another option is to place dry grass on the ground below the tree in a position where the wind can blow maximum smoke into the top of the tree, cover it with green aromatic leaves like lantana etc and lit the grass to produce smoke. 

Smoking of mango trees is reported both by Kenya Institute of Organic Farming (KIOF) and Meru Herbs Farmers, Kenya to be very effective in insect control. 

Smoking also induces flowering in mango trees.


Fresh Quality Specifications for the Market in Kenya

The following specifications constitute raw material purchasing requirements

© S. Kahumbu, Kenya





Information on Pests

Biological methods of plant protection

The worst pests for mangoes include fruit flies, cotton scales, mealybugs, cicadas and black flies (create honey dew). They can cause a lot of damage. Yet they all have natural enemies, such as e.g. ladybird larvae, wasps, spiders and parasitic fungi (e.g. with cicadas and black flies).

An ecological plantation with a variety of crops and a sufficient amount of vegetation cover will provide enough natural enemies to combat the pests that measures against them unnecessary. Cicadas are averse to open, well ventilated soil, also drain the soil well to avoid wet patches.

In emergencies, the following methods should help:

Scale insects can be regulated with a 'winter-spraying', i.e. with paraffin oil (white oil) shortly before the larvae hatch from their eggs. The paraffin oil is sprayed on as a 3 % water emulsion.

Plant spraying mixtures made of stinging nettles or neem can be used against cicadas. The worst damage occurs during blossoming, so the plantation should be checked regularly around this time in order to make up the brew and spray it early enough.

Mealybugs lay their eggs on the ground next to the trunk. By wrapping smooth plastic bands around the trunk, the larvae can be prevented from infesting too large an area. Should they infest the tree, a solution of 1% soft soap (potassium soap) is quite effective.

Black fly can be kept under control by useful insects. A variety of prospatella species can be of use here. This requires a good functioning control system, because the useful larvae need to be made available for release in time. Where this is not possible, spraying white oil shortly before the pests hatch, as such as with scale insects can be sufficient.

Examples of Mango Pests and Organic Control Methods

Information on Diseases

Biological methods of plant protection

The most usual diseases with mango trees are fungus and bacterial diseases. The first important preventative measure is make sure that the propagation segments are healthy. The scions that were raised in tree nurseries and whose origins are maybe unclear, should be carefully examined. They shall not have been treated with any synthetic or chemical agents.

Anthracnose, caused by the fungus Colletotrichum gloeosporioides, is the most wide-spread disease among mangoes. The varieties vary in susceptibility. Colletotrichum gloeosporioides causes anthracnose on fruits, and drop of flowers on young branches. Anthracnose always appears as a result of scurvy (Elsinoe mangiferae). Fruits stricken with anthracnose can be plunged into a hot water bath (3- 5 min. at 55°C), in order to kill off the fungus. Preventative measures are nevertheless preferable, to preclude injuries and an infection with scurvy, because anthracnose can usually only take a hold on damaged fruits that are also affected by scurvy. A case of scurvy can usually be prevented by removing all dead plant material (branches, leaves and fruit). In exceptional cases, the fungus can be brought under control again with copper strays.

While anthracnose generally attacks ripe fruits (and blossoms), a bacterial infection from Erwinia sp. can also affect young fruit. The symptoms are very similar to the flecks caused to the leaves and fruit by anthracnose. The bacteria usually survive in the ground - a heavy rainfall will then splash the spores against the lower leaves and fruits. Covering the ground can therefore help to protect against this. Active life in the soil will also help to prevent an explosive growth of bacteria. Sites where it can rain inside the blossoms can also be a problem.

Young fruit and also blossoms can be damaged by powdery mildew (Oïdium mangiferae). This fungus grows during warm weather with high humidity. It attacks flowers and young fruits. A case of powdery mildew can dramatically affect the harvest. An open, well-ventilated orchard can prevent mildew. In acute cases, mildew can also be brought under control with sulphur. When carrying this out, there should be no wind blowing, and the leaves should still be moist with dew.

The leaf spot disease (Cercospora mangiferae) on mangoes is visible as dented spots on leaves and fruit. The same applies for this fungus, an open and quick-drying tree population is the best protection against infection. Fruit infected with Cercospora can no longer be sold, furthermore, both the leaf spot disease and scurvy prepare the way for anthracnose. In exceptional cases, the leaf spot disease can be brought under control copper sprays. For more information on Bordeaux Mixture click here

Examples of Mango Diseases and Organic Control Methods

Contact Information


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