BENIN – Les Fruits Tillou Sarl, an agri-food company, has won a USD 10 million contract to ship million worth of sugarloaf pineapples of the “Pain de sucre” variety to China.

The announcement was made by Romuald Wadagni, Minister of State in charge of Economy and Finance through a post on his Facebook page.

The agreement was signed between Wang Wentao, China’s Minister of Commerce, and Bertille Guedegbe Marcos, founder, and CEO of the company, on the sidelines of the 6th Anniversary of the China International Import Expo which is being held in Shanghai from November 5 to 10.

Benin’s sugarloaf pineapple, dubbed ‘the sweetest pineapple in the world,’ was on show for the first time at the ongoing China International Import Expo in Shanghai.

“I’m glad our Chinese friends can sample Benin’s pineapples,” said Elysee Kahomey, Benin’s assistant ambassador to China.

This new deal succeeds the resumption of pineapple exports to China from the country in 2023, after a hiatus of several years due to phytosanitary issues. 

It allows the sugarloaf pineapple to be the first agricultural product shipped to the Middle Kingdom after President Patrice Talon signed a memorandum of understanding with the Asian country last September.

This new partnership represents a real boost for Les Fruits Tillou and the development of its activities because China is a huge market for pineapples, with a demand of over 2 million tons per year. 

It is also an opportunity for the promotion of the “Pain de sucre” pineapple beyond the European market, which concentrates on the country’s main export outlets.

Benin is one of the leading producers of pineapples in Africa, with an annual output of about 400 to 450 thousand tons. 

The fruit is currently the second most important agricultural product in Benin, after cotton with the main varieties grown being Smooth Cayenne and MD2, which are popular for their sweetness and juiciness.

Benin’s pineapple sector has been undergoing a transformation in recent years, with the support of various partners such as Grow Africa, IDH, Dalberg Consulting, and the IAEA. 

These partners have helped to establish a multi-stakeholder platform, conduct a market study, improve the quality and safety of the fruits, and facilitate the access to international markets.

According to a business case study by Dalberg Consulting, Benin’s pineapple sector has the potential to grow significantly in the medium term, with a target to generate a total of USD 213 million and create 3500 new jobs by 2025. 

The study also identifies the key challenges and opportunities for the sector, such as access to quality inputs, certification, land, processing, packaging, and logistics.

“Benin’s pineapples have a competitive edge in terms of taste, quality, and price,” reads the study report. “The sector is set to take off and become a key driver of economic growth and social development in the country.”

For all the latest fresh produce industry news updates from Africa, the Middle East, and the World, subscribe to our NEWSLETTER, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn, like us on Facebook, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.