In the Ekumfi district, located in the south of Ghana, sugarloaf pineapples are traditionally cultivated using an extensive system with long fallow periods. However, pressure on the land has led to shorter fallow periods and chemical inputs are now used by more and more farmers.
In the capital Accra, the sugarloaf pineapple from Ekumfi is valued for its refreshing taste. However, on the international market the sugarloaf variety is hardly sold as a fresh fruit because it stays green and consumers think they are not ripe. Therefore the sugarloaf variety is mainly used for fruit juice.
Given the green colour and its funny long shape it is remarkably that WAD African Foods has created its own market of loyal consumers in Switzerland. Although they were not labelled organic, the customers knew and trusted that the pineapples were cultivated without the use of pesticides. The farmers had more pineapples to sell, but to access a larger market labelling and therefore certification was necessary.
The project contracted Agro Eco who assisted WAD and EAWOFA to develop and implement an internal control system and the whole group was certified organic from 2007. The project also assisted WAD in recruiting a field officer and increasing its drying capacity. The success created a new problem: sometimes there were not enough pineapples. Therefore Agro Eco and the field officer worked with the farmers to develop a planting schedule so that production peaks would coincide with demand peaks and the number of certified farmers was increased from 23 to 40.