Boris Hounsounou, aged 25 holdes a master's degree in history at the University of Abomey-Calavi in Benin where he is preparing his Master2.

Behind all these graduates, the young Boris inherited his father’s pineapple production, a big producer in Benin, Chairman of the peasant organization "Gledole".

Boris owes two farms in areas conducive to this culture in the Atlantic - Allada and Tori. This is the story of Boris, who embarked in the culture of pineapple since 2006 when he was in class two of junior secondary school (5ème).

The Production

Spacing between two strips is 60 centimetres and 30 between two feets. On one hectare, we establish 25 cantins. Here in Benin, each cantin has dimensioned 25 / 25 m.

By cantin, there are at least 3,000 feet of pineapple. So per hectare, we sow at least 75,000 feets. Sometimes, some refuse to respect this rule and tighten the planting. They establish per hectare 30 cantins.

As far as the spending is concerned, the lease of one hectare can be evaluated to 80,000 CFA F the year. Cleaning is 1.000 f CFA per * cantin.

Plowing consumes more than 10,000 F CFA per cantin; its cost varies with the period: in the dry season, the price is high and we negotiate, but in rainy season the price of labour is affordable. One hectare consumes at least 10 cantins of releases or the cantin of releases sold 10,000 F CFA.

So can we invest up to 900,000 F CFA on one hectare of the lease of the land to harvest after 18 months. If we treat well our crops, we can draw between 50 and 52 tons of fruit per hectare.

The market

Pineapple in Benin does not have a stable market, it means that the sales in the local market varies.

After a campaign of production of pineapple, if weather and if the local market is healthy, you're between 2,000,000 and 2,500,000 F CFA. But if the market drops, you can not find 1,000,000 F CFA.

Produce pineapple is a huge risk. It can happen to produce, but miss takers resulting in a total loss of production.

We must also take into account the plagues: the fruit out of standards coming out always in batch regardless of the degree of treatment.

We sell in the local market according to the steamroller. We don't sell by kilo. The tarpaulin goes down sometimes to 100.000f when the market drops.

Now all the fruits (pineapple) in Benin do not have the same prices. A tank can take at least 3.2 tons of pineapple.

The capacity depends on the caliber of the fruits. The price ceiling of the steamroller (caliber) is 210,000 f CFA. Today, to my knowledge, there are only two large firms specialized in the transformation of pineapple into juice in Benin.

Anxious to have a steady business, they don't pay producers fair value. They take 60 F CFA per kilo: this purchase by kilo is not encouraging.

In a second part next week, we will address the practical reality on the ground and advice relevant to succeed the culture of pineapple in Benin.

* one hectare in Benin has an area of 25 * 25 m 2. They use the stick which is the equivalent of 6 measures of machete. A cantin is 5 rounds of this stick squared (4 sides).

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