Testimonies news – Post date: May 25th, 2020.


In Guinea, the Federation des Planteurs de la Filiere Fruit de la Basse Guinee (FEPAF-BG) reports the main impacts of coronavirus on the pineapple and mango sectors. For pineapple production, the sector is suffering important losses for the 2020 campaign and if urgent solutions are not taken the programme could be jeopardised. Members are seeing reduction of developed areas, and low availability and high cost of fertilisers. They are unable to supply destination markets (exports to sub-regional markets in Senegal, Gambia, Mali, Sierra Leone, etc.). There is a reduction in trade flows between production and consumption areas at the local level, with difficulties in finding transport and increased transport costs, and unavailability of labour. Producers also report difficulties in meeting loan payment deadlines. FEPAF-BG plans to carry out an analysis of the impact of COVID 19 on production and marketing in the two basins of Kindia and Maferinyah.

In the mango sector, there have been no mango exports this year as the airport and port of Conakry are closed to traffic. The only remaining market, Conakry, is saturated with supplies from all over the world; but above all, access to the Conakry market has become difficult as transporters are prevented from leaving Conakry.

FEPAF-BG has 75 members (4 cooperatives, 12 unions and 59 independent entrepreneurs) representing a total of 1,052 producers (including 209 women) in the prefectures of Kindia, Forécariah, Coyah, Dubréka, Boffa, and Boké. Pineapple is the flagship fruit produced by the members of the federation, but they may also be involved in other production such as bananas, mango and citrus fruit. Some producers are also involved in the oil palm and cashew sectors.

Also in Guinea, Fédération des Paysans du Fouta-Djalon (FPFD; Fouta-Djalon Peasants’ Federation) reports that the hotels, restaurants and popular bars – the main consumers of potatoes in Conakry – are closed. Various ceremonies (weddings, baptisms, religious celebrations) which brought together large numbers of people and which were also occasions for consuming potatoes remain prohibited, further reducing the marketing outlets. Restrictions on the movement of potato sellers from Conakry to the production areas, and vice versa, are another obstacle. Border closures have prevented marketing to regional markets such as Sierra Leone and Liberia. This year, 15,292 tonnes of potatoes were produced, and 3,058 tonnes were sold before the pandemic. Among the 12,234 tonnes remaining, 50% was bought by the Federation and stored in cold rooms. The cost of these potatoes is drastically increasing as Gasol is used to supply cold room generators. So far the cost per kg has already increased 700 GNF. The other 50% was partially sold off by producers at between 3,000 and 2,750 GNF/kg with a loss of 950 GNF/kg compared to production cost. The risk of rotting due to the lack of adequate storage facilities available in the production areas is increasing day by day. At FPFD level, the potato sector has 9,158 members.


The Uganda Fruits and Vegetables Exporters and Producers Association (UFVEPA) reports that the sector is facing many challenges. The government has identified essential services and essential suppliers as basically local suppliers of food, fruits and vegetables. However, they do not identify exports, and since only cargo vehicles are allowed to move, transport for agronomists to farms, and for other workers within the packhouses, is impossible. The hours of curfew also make production and export difficult. The other challenge has been about movement of shipments: few cargo planes land in Entebbe, and those that managed to come through cannot fly to all destinations where fruits and vegetables are exported, so markets have been called off. Also, importantly, the flight rates are extremely high. Some importing countries are no longer allowing orders. Locally many farms are being abandoned because the means of transport to them is very limited.


A COLEACP partner based in Cameroon reports that regional trade is impossible. The risks associated with political instability in the region are compounding the economic consequences of the closure of borders and containment measures in various countries. Nigerian and Gabonese traders who would normally buy fresh vegetables and mangoes in Cameroon from March to June have been unable to cross the border. As traditionally Cameroon is the breadbasket of Central Africa, supplying all neighbouring countries with fruit and vegetables, this is a very difficult situation. Consequently, the local market is saturated and prices are falling sharply.

Regarding international exports, Cameroon’s Direction du Contrôle Qualité (DRCQ) says that only three companies have managed to export mangoes this year, compared with five in a usual year.


In an interview with Wandie Kazeem (19 May), Tunde Ogunyemi, CEO of Thelma Farms in Nigeria, describes the disruption to the food supply chain and how the pandemic has affected his export business. The main impact has been the suspension of all export activities at the airports. In addition, Lagos is locked down on interstate movement, so it’s impossible for producers outside Lagos to take produce to the airport for export. The majority of aircraft leaving Nigeria are foreign aircraft, mostly European, so the resumption of services is out of the country’s control. When the lockdown commenced, a lot of farmers didn’t go to their farms at the very early stages, so they lost a lot of produce, and along the line ther will be a food security gap. Farms and markets are operating on alternate days due to the lockdown. Locally, farmers are now going back to their farms, but they are experiencing a lot of problems around access to inputs. The dollar has gone up erratically, the cost of chemicals and inputs has become very erratic, and access is limited. For example, in Ogo State, we have alternate days when we can go out. So those are the only days we can approach the agro-merchants to buy chemicals and inputs, or take our produce to the markets. we are no operating in full capacity, however, there is a bit more movement of farmers now. Without improved regional trade agreements, the opportunities for Nigerian producers for inter-regional trade are limited, and export trade will be important. With the pandemic, demand for products will position Nigeria and other exporting countries in a very good alignment. Demand for agricultural produce is very high because, for example in Europe, they don’t have people to go on farms and pick produce. So imported produce will have a chance.

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