Getting bigger - commercialisation
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CTA. 2007. Getting bigger - commercialisation. Rural Radio Resource Pack 07/5. Wageningen, The Netherlands: CTA.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/57173
How to expand the market for your indigenous fruits.
Getting bigger - commercialisation Cue: Many of our African fruit trees are back in fashion. They are becoming a good source of income for those who grow them or harvest them from the wild. These days we have a lot of specialists working with our indigenous fruit tree crops. But who best to help us see both the opportunities and the problems in trading wild fruits, than someone who knows the fruit trade inside-out. Kofi Adu Domfeh went along to the Crop Research Institute in Kumasi, Ghana, to speak to Daniel Kwabena Yeboah, who has been in charge of nursing citrus planting material. IN: ?These are very valuable fruits? OUT: ? on the consumption of our local fruits?? DUR?N: 4?50? BACK ANNOUNCEMENT: That was Daniel Kwabena Yeboah talking with Domfeh Adu with plenty of advice there for farmers to make the most from the ?fruits of their labour?! The interview comes from a resource pack produced by CTA. Transcript Yeboah These are very valuable fruits which will improve your dietary condition and so make you very healthy. Domfeh In your observation would you say that producers are able to meet the demands in the market? Yeboah Not exactly, not exactly. Domfeh Is there the need to increase the marketability of indigenous fruits? Yeboah Oh there is the need because at least fruit sizes must be graded, you get big ones, you get medium ones, you get smaller ones. And then, the quality too should be improved and then the shelf life should also be enhanced so that fruits that are produced do not deteriorate within a shorter period of time because most fruits are perishable. I think there is a very important need for us to preserve these fruits or change them into another form that can last. For instance you produce oranges, the oranges are rotten but if we have a processing machine to change the primary produce to say orange juice, the juice stays longer and the marketability of it is also prolonged. Domfeh How essential is packaging to such produce? Yeboah Oh packaging is very essential because apart from increasing the shelf life of the plant it makes them very appealing. The product itself if it is well packaged becomes attractive and because that is also a good advert. Once you package a product well you will be able to sell it at a higher price. Domfeh How best do you think they can transport their produce to the markets? Yeboah You know transportation is a bigger problem. Apart from the road networks, the vehicles that transport most of these things take a lot of money, and that affects the price of the commodities on the market. Sometimes because of the poor network, because of the way they package these things during transportation, most of the fruits arrive at the market centres bruised. When they are bruised it means the appeal, the value of the thing goes down. So transportation I think is very, very vital. There is a saying that you can produce anything, but you must always try to produce what people want, because if you want to be profit?oriented, then you must always produce what people are prepared to take. And not that because you think you are farmer you can grow anything, then you grow whatever plant that comes your way. But if we start to be very selective in the way we produce, then we will always take advantage of the market at any particular time, because most fruits are produced at where they are not eaten. You go to the villages, avocadoes come, pears come, and then they are harvested and they go to waste. But there must be moved from the point from where they are not needed to where they are needed so that the farmers can make enough profit. Domfeh Is there anything that the farmer can do to actually improve their bargaining power and be protected from exploitation? Yeboah The only thing they can do is to group themselves and form farmer associations. But the problem we have with cooperatives in the system is that because of the individualistic tendencies, most cooperative organizations fail. Because whatever belongs to the community does not belong to the individual, and once we also group ourselves and we do not share the responsibilities together, it is always a problem. Domfeh Beyond the individual farmers are there legislations to protect their interest as farmers? Yeboah I don?t think that legislations are effective, if even there are, they are not very effective. It takes a lot of time for these things to be regulated. It is very important that legislations are made to protect the farmers, but they are non-existent, and even when they exist, their enforcement is not logically concluded. So most often the farmers they are very vulnerable because they are not protected. Domfeh How can we really ensure that we get the fruits from the farmers to the markets and they are purchased at a price that will favour the farmer? Yeboah Basically everything depends on the economy. Once the economy is vibrant, once the economy has taken off, it is growing, it will affect all these levels of fruit production in the system. Because if the road network is improved, the vehicles can move to and from the hinterlands to the market areas; if packaging facilities are available, if the shelf of fruits can be prolonged, and if the consumer is well educated to take advantage of the importance of fruits in their diets, now everything goes well. So why can?t we insist on the consumption of our local fruits? End of track.