Increasing incomes of farmers

Organic and fair-trade exports from Africa



In Cameroon the project has supported the pineapple growers association GIC UNAPAC growing and exporting smooth cayenne pineapples since 2002.

In October 2007 the project organized a national workshop on organic and fair-trade exports. At this workshop a follow-up committee was formed to capitalise on the project experiences to the benefit of other producer groups. This committee has set up an email forum at which lively debates on the development of the organic and fair-trade sectors take place. The forum is open to everyone interested in organic agriculture and fair-trade in Cameroon.

Pineapple suckers are dipped into a solution of ash and copper before planting.
Organic pineapple suckers are treated with ash and copper. Photo: J.P. Imélé, 2006.

Smooth Cayenne pineapples

The association GIC UNAPAC (Groupement d’Interêt Commun - Union des AgroPasteurs du Cameroun) has 48 members and a large communal farm and already exports conventional smooth cayenne pineapples by air to France since 2002. UNAPAC was looking for ways to diversify its exports.

The association was democratically organised and already complied with most FLO standards. However, it soon became clear the conventional buyer was already paying the minimum Fairtrade price and FLO labelling would only add costs for certification and license fees. FLO certification is still an option if new buyers are found.

With project funds, UNAPAC planted an experimental plot to test out organic cultivation practices. The project recruited a national consultant, Mr. Imélé, to supervise the experiment and train UNAPAC staff and members. The organic pineapples were exported through an established organic exporter. A cost benefit analysis showed that production costs were only slightly higher due to the use of polyethylene for ground cover, and the yield was comparable to average conventional yields. The organic price premium compensates extra production costs and certification costs, even at low volumes.

UNAPAC decided to increase its organic production and 2 members were added to its organic certificate. One third of the UNAPAC members are planning to convert to organic production. In November 2008 UNAPAC also shipped its first container. When volumes increase, it is expected the organic pineapples will be shipped too, as the organic market prefers shipping over airfreight.

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