From a statement by Procomer:
Pineapple producers in West Africa are hoping to create new niches for the fruit in the European market, although in recent years they have lost ground to the volumes exported by Costa Rica to that market.
In 2001, the Ivory Coast had 17% of the sales going to Europe, compared to Costa Rica’s 21% from. These figures changed radically by 2010, with Costa Rica’s sales of pineapples in Europe at 81% and the Ivory Coast at only 8%, while Panama had around 7%.
The French company Compagnie Fruitière, which owns plantations in the Ivory Coast, Cameroon and Ghana, believes the region can still compete in terms of quality. Paul Bouzon, director of marketing for the company stated:
"Costa Ricans have to harvest the pineapple sooner and their pineapples and oranges are not as sweet as ours. Some consumers who are aware of this difference, clearly prefer African pineapples. We also sell well in Eastern Europe and Russia, where they appreciate the quality of our products. The market is large and we are quite small, so we may find a niche where we can do well. "
In 2000, Compagnie Fruitière plantations in the Ivory Coast produced about 200,000 metric tons (MT) of the fruit, a figure that dropped to 50,000 MT in 2010. Exports from Ghana reached the 34,000 MT, whereas from Cameroon they were 10,000 MT.
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The sector expects to increase exports in 2010, and for this they have planted 45.000 hectares.
Canapep, the National Chamber of Pineapple Growers and Exporters, is betting on increased demand from the U.S. west coast and new markets like Turkey and Iraq.
"According to Canapep forecasts, this combination of factors, plus good sales to Europe, will make the sector grow in 2010", reported Nacion.com.
Costa Rica's success as a producer of the MD2 pineapple variety, is attempting to be copied by countries like Panama, Colombia and Ghana.
Costa Rica is the world's leading supplier of pineapple, a position it achieved in particular because of the quality and sweetness of the MD2 variety, characteristic due not only to technological equipment employed and processes that have been internationally certified, but also because of the special conditions of the soil and climate.
European Union technicians will evaluate the usage of agrochemicals in pineapple, melon and mango plantations and packing plants.
The inspections will be done at random, between October 7th and 15th.
Gabriela Zúñiga, director of the State's Phytosanitary Service, said that "In general, international markets worry about food safety, and one way to accomplish it is to travel to the producing countries and make sure that what we send has no contaminants beyond the permitted limits".
There is still an insatiable demand for growing pineapples, which has meant that Costa Rica’s export volume has been multiplied by 4 in the last 10 years.
An article in Elfinancierocr.com quotes Abel Chaves, president of the National Chamber of Pineapple Producers and Exporters (Canapep) who says: "If the market is demanding more pineapples, then we will plant more pineapples".