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Home Culture & Society Is Jamaica Mango Festival on stand-by??

Is Jamaica Mango Festival on stand-by??

by caribdirect
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Staff Writer Nastasia Grant

Mango!!… mango!!…mango!! That’s what mango festival is all about, showcasing the creativity and versatility of Jamaicans presenting the different recipes and dishes that can be created from the mango fruit, as our cultural icon Miss Lou would say “wi tek wi hand and mek fashion”.

The district of Delveland in the parish of Westmoreland has been the home of the annual Delveland Mango Festival since its inception in early 2000. It has been a crowd pleaser ever since. However, in 2009 little did we know that the years to follow would be years of poor planning on the part of the promoters resulting in a decline in festival activities and a halt in its presentation.

In the year 2009, the last time the festival was held, there were fewer patrons, more sellers than buyers, and a lack of versatility in mango products. It became obvious that the festival which was once graced with bumper to bumper traffic and thousands of enthusiastic patrons was losing its zest.  The support from residents to tourists was diminishing.

Typical Mango tree

Some of the residents blame the lack of creativity as well as the “bad mind” (envious) and “crab inna barrel” attitudes of the vendors for the decline in festival activities.

It is said that only a specific set of persons were making money and prices were geared towards the tourists. Clout and favouritism resulted in special privileges for family members and close friends, which contributed to the decline of festival participation.  Among the many contributing factors to the failure or decline of Delveland Mango Festival were overpricing, force ripe fruits (gas ripe fruits) and dishonest vendors.

Faced with poor organization and plagued by what many would describe as lack of marketing and networking strategies, it was evident that the festival was heading to a decline or possible failure.  The residents saw a lack of cooperation within the community planning and it was “every man for himself”.

Mango lover and festival supporter, Mr. Leng expressed his opinion… “no mango festival because a one set a people a mek de money…and a pure badmind.”

Mango lovers are hoping and longing for organizers to go back to be drawing board with more involvement from the community, vendors and corporate sponsors to present a bigger and better mango festival in the future.

It would be a benefit to residents as well as those living in the surrounding communities if the festival became active again. The festival has been a source of income for members of the small district and surrounding communities since it started.

However, the event has not been forthcoming like most community programs and developmental activities… They could assign persons with different roles.

I went to the event once in 2000, due to the constant talks and anticipation surrounding the variety of mangoes and entertainment that would be available.  People were excited and hopeful for a great event but sadly the community spirit that created the event in the first place was not strong enough to keep it going…It would be a shame for a cultural event with so much potential to just die without being given a chance.

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