BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese Welsh

 You are in: World: Africa
Front Page 
Middle East 
South Asia 
From Our Own Correspondent 
Letter From America 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

Tuesday, 15 January, 2002, 16:50 GMT
Ivory Coast hit by pineapple strike
Europe's demand for Ivorian pineapple has fallen
By Kate Davenport in Abidjan

The Ivorian Government and farmers are engaged in talks in Abidjan to avert the planned strike by pineapple growers.

On Monday, farmers dumped tonnes of pineapples on a road to the city's port, blocking it off.

They are protesting at the slump in sales of pineapples to Europe, and calling for the closure of the country's main fruit export firm, Organisation Centrale d'Ananas et de Bananes (OCAB).

The angry farmers accuse the firm which supplies 55% of Europe's pineapples, of stealing their profits.

The farmers say that they have received no income for the last nine months and will be forced to stop fruit production if nothing is done.

Huge commission

The farmer's union, Sypefel, has agreed to temporarily suspend the strike until Wednesday, pending the outcome of a meeting with the Minister of Agriculture, Alphonse Douaty.

Ten years ago, we supplied 95% of pineapples to the European market, but today we supply only 55%.

Emmanuel Doli

Sypefel, which claims to represent 3,000 pineapple farmers, complains that OCAB, is taking a hefty commission of 7-10 % on the sale of their produce in Paris.

They say that they are being forced to pay this, even when sales of pineapples are down.

They are also demanding their share of a 4.125 billion CFA ($560,000) grant from the European Development Fund, agreed back in 1994.


OCAB denies corruption, saying that the European fund has been overseen by an EU delegate, and mainly invested in fertilizers aimed at improving the quality of the crop.

Somewhat ironically, the resulting increase in production is a major contributing factor to the farmers' current predicament.

OCAB's executive secretary, Emmanuel Doli, says that he warned the farmers last year that if they produced too many pineapples, they would not be able to sell them all.

He complains that the farmers ignored his advice, and oversupplied the market with 60,000 crates, instead of the recommended 45,000.

Political manoeuvre

Mr Doli says that the pineapple crisis has hit farmers worldwide, as a result of competition.

President Laurent Gbagbo
Gbagbo's supporters are accused of organising the strike

"Ten years ago, we supplied 95% of pineapples to the European market, but today we supply only 55 %. So there is competition on the market. And it's a free market, shaped by the laws of supply and demand, as everybody well knows", Mr. Doli explained.

OCAB directors also complain that there is a political aspect to the strike.

They point out that the pineapple farmers, from southern Ivory Coast, are supporters of President Laurent Gbabgo's ruling Popular Ivorian Front party, and that they want an excuse to put their people in the driving seat.

See also:

26 Feb 01 | Business
Cocoa price surge concerns
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Africa stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Africa stories