first_imgOctober 10 , 2018 AgroFresh and Zest Labs partner on sales solutions … From the pages of Produce Business UKGhana firms began exporting by air the Smooth Cayenne (SC) variety of fresh pineapple to Europe in the mid-1980s, relying on smallholders who contributed about 50 percent of export volumes.Like many other industries in West Africa, Ghana’s pineapple industry hoped to gain a footing in international markets. Its exports increased significantly from the early 1990s to the mid-2000s, where it reached its peak at more than US $30 million, according to a report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.Since then, however, there have been struggles. The fresh pineapple export industry had declined considerably, with the number of exporters in 2004 dropping from 50 to 14. The UN reports that this has been primarily due to a shift in market demand to the MD-2 variety of pineapple produced primarily in Costa Rica by Del Monte.14 years later, the country is showing signs of resurgence, along with a continued commitment to its workers.Produce Business UK sat down with Theresa Poku and Patrick Safo, MD, co-owners of Ohu Farms, one of the exhibitors at the upcoming Amsterdam Produce Summit (12-14 November), to understand how a Ghanaian farm is working with the international market to export its pineapples crop. Could you start by giving us some basic information about the Ohu Farms?The inception of the farm started in 2014, with the initial planting in 2015. We currently employ four full-time staff, with up to 14 additional staff who help with demands on the farm. We supply the local market: HPW Fresh & Dry Ltd., Blue Skies Ltd., Chartered Impex Ltd. How did the company come about? What were some of the founding philosophies? Ohu Farms started as an endeavor between both co-owners as a farm that provides an exotic fruit for the local and foreign population. We also thought of the local community and the livelihood it will provide for them. Now, we have women in the community who work for the farm and are able to help their families. The farm is located along the Akwapim Hills of Ghana (about an hour north of the capital city of Accra), with meandering streams and year-round conditions conducive for cultivation of pineapple. What would you say is your main service now in 2018 to the produce industry. What is the unique selling point? How has this evolved over the years? At its inception, our main target was the local consumers and local exporting companies. As the farm expands with consistent and larger-scale production, we have ventured into foreign market.What would you say makes your pineapples unique? Is it the cost? The quality?The quality and taste of our fruits is a distinguishing factor for Ohu Farms. We pay attention to producing the fruits with recommended standards. The weather patterns and location of the farm have also contributed to the products. We pay particular attention to ensuring fruits are cared for, in addition to rotating land practices. The used land is rotated with legumes to foster natural replenishment of nutrients to the land. The products have been acclaimed on the local markets. We have also recently participated in Fresh Produce Africa Expo FPA 2018 in Kenya.    We ventured into the foreign market in collaboration with a local existing farmer who exports to France. They are called Chartered lmpex. We are actively seeking to start sole exportation to other parts of Europe: notably Germany, Netherlands and the UK.  We do also have interest in emerging fruit markets in the Middle East area.Let’s talk a little about your specific farming techniques. Could you briefly describe the farming process for your pineapple varieties in Ghana?Ohu Farms Ltd. has an exceptional cultural practice which enhances the best of qualities that any buyer could desire. For example, we use the best of global GAP-certified chemicals on our farm.What specifically are the cultural practices that you mention? What are the buyer’s desires?Our farm is located on a previously uncultivated land. To that effect, we use minimal amount of Dursban — a broad-spectrum insecticide for controlling pests in horticultural crops, and Diuron — an algicide and herbicide of the arylurea class that inhibits photosynthesis. The buyer is interested in quality fruit that is appreciated by customers. To achieve this,  we try to maintain high-quality measures on our farm.Have these cultural practices evolved over the years? Is there anything you do now in 2018 that stands out from when you opened?Yes, we also use some organic fertilizer during the land preparation which helps in conventional fertilizer usage on the farm. Thus, the maximum residue level of the chemicals used on the farm is highly considered.Let’s talk about some of your pineapple varieties. Are there any in particular – the smooth cayenne / sugarloaf for example that have more demand than others? The majority of our focus has been optimizing the Smooth Cayenne (SC) and Sugarloaf (SL) varieties. Although there was a peak shift in interest for MD-2 around 2005 in Europe, both SC and SL are increasingly popular in European and Asian markets. These varieties have a vibrant, sweet taste that is unmistakable. You might also be interested in Australia forges custard apples’ future, tests pro … last_img read more