In Togo, there are 1,300 young farmers, one-third of whom are women, who grow about 500 hectares of organic pineapples. Each of them does not own more than half a hectare of land but together they managed to reach the Italian supermarkets and guarantee themselves a decent job in their country. How come? Through the creation of a cooperative enterprise, which allowed them to organize themselves and access markets with greater awareness.
Coopermondo has been working in Togo since 2012, creating and strengthening cooperative enterprises and, together with the Cooperative Credit, through the granting of loans for agriculture development. Among the beneficiaries, there is also the Tsevié cooperative, which was formalized thanks to the technical assistance received from Coopermondo. As an NGO of the Confcooperative system, Coopermondo involved Agrintesa and Brio, the two cooperative companies linked to the distribution of organic agricultural products, which suggested one of their technicians go along in a mission and visit the pineapple fields. Once on the field, he found something unexpected: a new product never seen on the Italian markets. A pineapple different from the ones Italians are used to. Cultivated in a completely biological way, the entrepreneur’s nose smelt the potential of the product, which has been tested and is now marketed in major Italian supermarkets.
Pineapples are paid to farmers at the maximum price they would get at local markets.
In April 2017 the experimentation began and Italian consumers appreciated the new product. Coopermondo has accompanied farmers in improving their export logistics. Agrintesa has donated electronic weighing scales as well as funds for the Togolese cooperative to improve their packaging. In the first quarter of 2018, continued imports of organic pineapple of over one tonne are planned.
“This means to create a respectful, honest, transparent and sustainable supply chain that generates well-being for citizens in their countries of origin”, stated the director of Coopermondo, Danilo Salerno. “This is a concrete way of implementing the new development cooperation requested by the Government, the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation and the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs: linking enterprises, producers, NGOs, Governments of partner countries and society civil”.