Market access and food security news – Post date: June 26th, 2020

Zimbabwe’s resilient smallholder pineapple farmers

ZimTrade (18 June) reports that one year after Cyclone Idai destroyed their village, 22 smallholder pineapple farmers in Rusitu Valley, Chimanimani, Zimbabwe have not given up. With the assistance of COLEACP and ZimTrade they are still working towards attaining organic certification, which will, among other things, make it easier to export to Europe. ZimTrade has been working with the pineapple growers to attain organic certification for some years – the certification is a critical milestone in reaching the lucrative organic fruit market, especially in the Netherlands. Intense Tropical Cyclone Idai in March 2019 was one of the worst tropical cyclones on record to affect Africa and the Southern Hemisphere, and while the destruction of crops threatened to halt the growers’ progress, they are continuing to work towards their goal.

Guinea: Technical itineraries for pineapple production

COLEACP has also been working with pineapple growers in Guinea, through a 3-week distance learning course on the technical itineraries for the production of Baroness de Rothschild, Smooth Cayenne and Victoria pineapple. The training was organised for the Federation of Fruit Planters of Lower Guinea (FEPAF-BG) in Guinea from 28 May to 17 June.

“This online training initiative was very interesting, satisfying, it allowed us to know more about pineapple growing and especially the certification process for organic farming. The training was well planned and organised, the topics covered are at the heart of the problems that producers encounter so it is a plus for us to help producers for a quality production.”

Elizabeth Finda Leno

FPC Kenya introduced to new COLEACP services

In a virtual meeting with the Fresh Produce Consortium of Kenya (FPC Kenya), including FPC’s CEO Mr Okisegere Ojepat, COLEACP introduced its COVID-19 activities to ensure market access and food security. In particular two new online services were highlighted – for linking local and regional producers and buyers; and for external logistics services. COLEACP has developed a simple website to collect production information by sector via national and regional organisations, federations and associations, and transmit it to local and regional buyers. Other information, for example on logistics, will eventually be integrated. The local websites enable each professional organisation involved to collect the offers of its producer members and then send them to buyers, who are being identified and mobilised by local COLEACP experts.

Other professional associations in seven pilot ACP countries were also involved. More information will follow in future editions of COLEACP’s COVID-19 situation report.

Fruit fly management in The Gambia and Cameroon

COLEACP recently held a digital training course via Zoom on integrated fruit fly management in The Gambia for the National Plant Protection Organisation and technical managers of Gambian companies. Sixteen people actively participated in the training. Introducing the course, Mr Landing Sonko, Director of the Plant Protection Services, recalled the importance of mango for The Gambia: it is one of the major exports financially and also provides employment opportunities.
COLEACP’s local expert trainers commented:

“Going digital for training is the right innovation and adaptation both during and after Covid-19 pandemic. It provides a great opportunity post-Covid for us trainers to deliver COLEACP’s work supporting our producers and exporters.”

“My learnt skills on this training, coupled with the initial digital training I attended with COLEACP, should now prepare me well to conduct similar trainings both in The Gambia and elsewhere. I’m now competent and ready with COLEACP platform, Zoom, Google meet, Microsoft Team, Camtasia, etc.”

And plant protection officers in Cameroon recently received digital training to build capacity in managing fruit flies on mangoes. The training – now adapted to digital – covers the implementation of integrated management measures for fruit fly control, and inspection of operators in the mango sector in Cameroon, to ensure the export of fruit free of quarantine pests – especially fruit-fly-free mangoes.

Ghana: Investment opportunities in orange-fleshed sweet potato

M. Felix Kamassah, CEO of Felix VEPEAG/Maphlix Trust Ghana Limited, joined an AgriWeb webinar on 21 June focusing on investment opportunities in the orange-fleshed sweet potato value chain. The webinar was the first in an AgriWeb series “Agribusiness in the Covid-19 era”. Mr Kamassah is an entrepreneur who has been supported by COLEACP’s Fit For Market programme, including securing financing through the ABC fund.

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