TFNet CEO’s New Year Message



Let me begin by thanking all of our esteemed members, partners, and stakeholders for the fruitful collaborations in the past year. May the new year be even more productive for TFNet and all of its members.




In 2017, TFNet continued to facilitate international cooperation in production, consumption, logistics, market, and trade in the global tropical fruit sector. We have made significant progress in accomplishing the goals stated in the TFNet Strategic Plan (2015-2020).


Our most recent major activity is the International Symposium on Tropical Fruits (ISTF2017) organized in Fiji on October 23-25 by TFNet and the Fijian Ministry of Agriculture. Bearing the theme “Food Security amidst a Changing Climate: Towards a Sustainable and Resilient Tropical Fruits,” ISTF2017 brought together dozens of tropical fruit experts from 11 countries. The Symposium successfully assembled the latest scientific research, technology developments, best practices, and product innovations that support the transformation of the tropical fruit industry to be resilient to climate change. The 11th TFNet Board of Trustees Meeting was held a day after the symposium.


An international workshop on jackfruit production, value addition, and marketing was co-organized by TFNet, Kerala Agricultural University, and the government of Kerala in Kerala, India on August 9-14. The workshop showed participants the role of jackfruit in food security and its potential as a source of income for smallholder farmers.


For our capacity building, TFNet conducted an international workshop on digital marketing for women entrepreneurs on October 3-5 in Melaka, Malaysia with the NAM Institute for the Empowerment of Women (NIEW). The workshop highlighted the importance of blending both traditional and digital marketing strategies to improve the visibility of their brand on the market. This marks the second collaborative effort between TFNet and NIEW.


As part of our efforts to showcase our work and services, TFNet joined two exhibitions this year: International Conference on Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Sarawak (ICAAS 2017) and Malaysia International Agriculture Technology Exhibition (AgriMalaysia 2017).


Other activities include study visits for our members to Thailand, Vietnam, and Taiwan and fruit tree planting activities in different countries. As CEO, I also represented TFNet in various talks, lectures, speeches, and meetings around the globe.




As we begin the year, TFNet will continue to work together with its members and stakeholders to meet our goals in each focus area identified in the TFNet Strategic Plan (2015-2020).


First, TFNet will continue improving its data collection and management of tropical fruit information. We will update our database on the basic production, agronomy, and market data on the major and minor commodities. We will also regularly disseminate our monthly newsletter to our members, update our Facebook and other social media, and continue making infographs such as “Friday Fruit Facts”.


Second, TFNet will coordinate activities to facilitate domestic and international trade. So far, we are working on germplasm exchange of tropical fruits from Malaysia to Fiji and Vietnam. We will also work on updating the SPS requirements for the export of tropical fruits.


Third, TFNet will strive for international technical and economic cooperation among the different sectors of the industry. We will organize a regional conference on tropical fruit diseases slated for September, a Nusantara durian convention scheduled for the 3rd quarter of 2018, and 1 Million Fruit Trees Planting Campaign.


Fourth, TFNet will work with experts on technology transfer to improve productivity and quality of tropical fruits. Our most anticipated activity is the 7th TFNet General Assembly which will be conducted in the latter half of the year alongside the 2018 International Symposium on Tropical Fruits. We hope you can join us and celebrate TFNet’s 18th year as a network.


Fifth, TFNet will organize capacity building programs for poverty alleviation. A proposal on Building Capacities of Smallholders in Tropical Fruit Value Chains through Innovation: Towards Sustainable Trade in South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Countries is currently on the pipeline.


Lastly, TFNet will continue to increase its membership through promotional activities and membership drives. We will collaborate with our members and partners and invite potential members to attend activities organized by TFNet.


2018 will be a busy year for TFNet as we work with our partners such as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), African-Asian Rural Development Organisation (AARDO), Crops for the Future Research Centre (CFFRC), South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), and CABI Southeast and East Asia.


I wish everyone a fruitful new year! May you and your family have a blessed 2018!


Yours sincerely,

Dr. Mohd. Desa Hassim
Chief Executive Officer
International Tropical Fruits Network

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