Completed Projects

Completed Projects


Policy Interventions to Facilitate Smallholder Integration in Tropical Fruit Markets and Value Chains: Case Studies in Indonesia and Vietnam

PARTNER: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations


Most of the smallholders involved in the production still rely on the traditional market system, and are
normally left unassisted to adjust to the recent developments that determine the kind of demand and
requirements for the different fruit types. There have also been issues of smallholders not benefiting due to lack of integrating into these value chains, besides not getting better access to the market. Smallholders also do not benefit as long they are not integrated in the chains.

Scope and Objectives

A study was conducted on tropical fruit smallholders in Indonesia and Vietnam to examine the key
determinants for growers participation into the value chain and access to markets. The study is based on quantitative and qualitative information derived from secondary sources, desk review,
respondent interviews and survey using structured questionnaires and proceedings from a workshop
regarding policy formulation and implementation in tropical fruit value chain integration.

The objectives of the study are:

  1. To assess and understand the existing pattern of tropical fruit smallholders in Asia and the challenges they face in integrating into the value chain as well as access to markets.
  2. To analyse the determinants of market participation for the different levels of smallholder tropical
    fruit producers.
  3. To identify and formulate policy interventions that can enhance smallholder integration in the value chain and which can improve market access for tropical fruits in producing countries

Tropical fruit subsector policies to promote the production, consumption and trade.

  1. Seed and planting material policy – policies related to the multiplication and use of reliable and
    recommended planting materials in the production of high yielding, accepted quality and marketable fruits. Policies should also focus on the R and D involved in the production of the planting materials, and measures taken to ensure the plants produced are true to type and distributed accordingly.
  2. Sustainable production – policies related to expansion of the growing area, improving yields,
    enhancing market access and increasing productivity. This incorporates the component of effective postharvest management.
  3. Land tenure and land use policy – Fundamental issue related to the available land area for agriculture and fruit production. Policies that can be formulated include leasing of private or government land for fruit production and zoning for selected fruit trees based on biophysical suitability factors.
  4. Accessibility to credit – An issue which affects smallholders who want to expand production and
    productivity but do not have the financial capacity to do so. Credit facilities are required for
    investments in new equipment, increasing their production area by leasing underutilized land and
    building of postharvest facilities. Policies should support credit accessibility.
  5. Effective postharvest management –Policies should be formulated to reduce postharvest losses with emphasis on Good Agricultural Practices, provision of infrastructure and logistics requirements and capacity development for smallholders, in addition to research and development on effective postharvest techniques.
  6. Institutional support – Institutional support is required in the setting up of farmers groups and relevant agencies that provide enabling environment for the groups to operate effectively.
  7. Private public partnerships – Linking the private sector to the smallholders to assist in the marketing and training of smallholders, with the provision of infrastructure from the public sector is one model which has been successful in some countries. PPP’s also act as conduit for smallholders to operate in a more business environment.
  8. Enhancing marketing of tropical fruits – Various policies can be formulated to improve market
    information, training on the production of value added products and improving handling and
    processing of fresh produce. Other policies include promotion of fruits as a good source of nutrition and well being.


Study on Business Strategy and Implementation Plan for the Development of the Proposed ECER Integrated Pineapple Project Areas in Pekan and Rompin, Pahang, Malaysia


TFNet is involved in a 6 months, feasibility study to recommend a business strategy and implementable plan to development close to 6,000 hectares of land in the South West area of the State of Pahang, Malaysia for the cultivation of pineapple.

Objective and scope of study

The objective of this study is to provide a comprehensive business strategy and implementation plan on the development of the integrated pineapple project in the proposed areas in Pekan and Rompin, Pahang. The study will take full account of the policies, strategic thrusts and initiatives proposed for the development of the pineapple industry in the ECER master plan, the National Agricultural Policy 3, the 9th Malaysia Plan and other relevant state and federal government documents.The study involves preparation of a comprehensive business plan for the pineapple industry in the ECER covering the aspects of business model, physical plan and technology.

The study will specifically cover the following scope:

A. Macroeconomic Aspects

Overview of the global and regional pineapple industry and recent development trends in:

•  Production both fresh and processed products of pineapple
•  Consumption and export demand
•  Market and trade
•  Prices

B. Cluster Studies of Pineapple Industry in Malaysia

Analysis of the value chain and supply chain in the pineapple industry from planting materials to processing including supporting industries and supply of raw materials. The analysis will include:

•  Overview of key segments of the value chain and supply chain
•  Structure of the pineapple industry in Malaysia and ECER including supply and demand situation
•  Issues in the value chain and supply chain
•  Technology and Innovation of each component of the value chain
– Varieties
– Propagation/breeding technique
– Nursery techniques
– Field planting and maintenance
– Harvesting and transportation
– Collection, processing and packaging of fresh fruits
– Processing and canning
– Complementary industries (catlle feedlotting and production of organic fertilizer)
•  Supporting industries such as raw materials, packaging and canning, logistics, equipments and feeder animals
•  Infrastructures such as roads, drainage, collecting centers, factory, electricity, mechanization etc.
•  Market and marketing system
•  Analysis of strength, weakness, opportunities and threat (SWOT) for each component of the value chain

C. Cluster development Strategies for ECER

Proposals for the development of the pineapple industry in ECER – Plans, targets and promotional measures and strategic initiatives and directions for the ECER. Proposals include:

•  Integration with the international and regional market
•  Establishment of production areas
•  Pineapple varieties to be promoted and cultivation methods
•  Types of products eg. fresh fruits, canned slices, canned cubes, juices
•  Marketing and distribution system
•  Human resource development
•  Role of government and incentives
•  Role of private sector
•  Phasing of projects
•  Business model for the development of the pineapple industry including Bumiputra Commercial and Industrial Committee (BCIC) participation in the ECER
•  Jobs and availability of skills among the local populace, especially their economic involvement, their income and poverty levels, and perception of their needs.

D. Physical Plan for the Development of the Pineapple Industry in Rompin and Pekan including:

•  Suitability of the proposed areas for pineapple cultivation
•  Proposed cropping systems (may include other crops)
•  Physical infrastructure for the development of the Integrated Pineapple Development Project that will include the farm, Administration and Labs, cannery, CPPC, Cattle Feedlotting and housing
•  Infrastructure requirements for the proposed area (roads, drainage, electricity, water etc)
•  Types of industries along the value chain including types of products
•  Physical infrastructure for the development of pineapple plantation and processing facilities
•  Physical plan on the development of the proposed area
•  Preliminary designs up to pre-detailed engineering level
•  Business model such as joint-venture, contract farming, foreign investments, etc
•  Project costs

E. Financial and Economic Analysis

•  Financial and economic analysis of the various pineapple-related projects proposed including financial projections, profitability indicators, sensitivity analysis, and bench marking against industry averages and standards
•  Critical success factors
•  Recommendation on business viability
•  Development of Key Performance Indicators (KPI)

F. Business Model

Evaluate entry strategies for the development of the pineapple industry in ECER including:

•  Types of industries along the value chain
•  Business modality such as joint-ventures, contract farming, foreign investment etc
•  Indications of private sector interest in the various proposed projects
•  Participation of local entrepreneurs


MARDI – TFNet – GWG Collaborative Research on Breeding and Production of Horticultural Seeds (2008-2010)

A Memorandum of Agreement between the 3 parties was signed on 21 st August 2008 . This collaborative R & D project is for a period of two years (1 st June 2008 – 31 st May 2010). The project objectives are;

a) To develop and evaluate new varieties of melon / watermelon adaptable to tropical conditions and meet the consumer preferences.

b) To develop and evaluate new vegetables (chilli, cucumber, pumpkin and long bean) varieties.

c) To develop and evaluate tropical hybrid sweet corn varieties for fresh and canning purposes.

d) To identify efficient management techniques of producing quality seeds of melon/watermelon, chilli, cucumber, pumpkin, long bean and sweet corn.

e) Capacity building of young researchers in breeding of horticultural crops.

It is envisaged that this public-private sector partnership would enhance the commercialization of new technology for the benefit of fruit and vegetable growers.


TFNet – SPAT Collaboration In the Tropical Fruit Processing Industry

According to FAOSTAT, the production of tropical and subtropical fruits was estimated to have increased nearly 20 million tons during the past 5 years to approximately 261 million tons in 2003. Countries in Asia account for 65.3 % of total world production. This was followed by Latin America 13.7 %, Africa 9.2 % Europe 3.7 % and Oceania 0.5 %.

While tropical fruit production has increased, it has also been reported that an estimated 10-20 % of tropical fruits harvested are wasted or spoilt due to poor post-harvest handling. This is further exacerbated when there is overproduction or glut.

Plans to have proper post-harvest handling facilities and processing are perhaps important components in a typical fruit production program. Nowadays, products of tropical fruits abound in the form of juices, purees, dried fruit, freeze fried or vacuum fried. Thus, generally, besides improving post harvest handling, processing of tropical fruits can help mitigate problems of post harvest losses, especially among small growers.

In an effort to introduce and promote fruit processing especially to the small scale producers, TFNet teamed up with Sentra Pengembangan Agribisnis Terpadu (SPAT) a private company based in Malang , East Java, Indonesia which provides services in entrepreneurial training and food processing. SPAT is also involved in the design and production of food processing equipment. In this aspect, TFNet saw the potential of some of the equipment especially the vacuum fry machine. This machine was seen as suitable for fruit chip production by small and medium size operators.

TFNet’s cooperation with SPAT began following a visit to SPAT’s agribusiness sub-terminal during the PMC meeting in Surabaya on 17 March 2004. Later on a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between TFNet and SPAT was signed on 25 January 2005 which spelt out the areas of cooperation between the two partners.

The areas of cooperation spelt out in the MOU were:

  • Joint or cooperative programmes and projects of mutual benefit, including visits and exchange of farmers, extension agents, food processors, government officers and technical personnel.
  • Organising and participation in courses, workshops, study visits and other joint meetings of mutual interest.
  • Exchange of technical data and information pertaining to food processing technology and equipment.
  • Facilitate and introduce the use of selected fruit processing equipment by either parties

Based on the MOU, there are four major activities in the TFNet-SPAT collaboration :

  • Hands-on Workshop Skill Enhancement and Study Visit
  • Introduction of the vacuum fry technology and equipment for fruit chip production.
  • Exchange Study Visit by officials from Indonesia to Malaysia
  • Promotion of fruit products and demonstrations.
Hands-on Skill Enhancement Workshop and Study Visit

This popular programme involves lectures and practical training on fruit chip production and study visits to agricultural projects that are related to small and large scale production of processed fruit products and food products. The program is carried out at the SPAT center in Malang, East Java. The objectives of this programme are:

  • To acquaint participants on the techniques of processing vacuum fried fruit chips, fruit nuggets and other processed food products.
  • To acquaint participants on the post-harvest and processing activities of tropical fruits which are carried out by small scale producers and also large scale producers
  • To familiarise participants to the concept of sustainable agriculture through visit to organic production areas and steepland agriculture
  • To acquaint participants with the current agricultural trends, policies and production methods that are characteristic of the East Java Province .

Since the beginning of this programme with SPAT, five ‘Hands-on Workshop and Study Visit’ had been conducted as follows:


No.of participants
23-27 Jan 2005
Officers from SIRIM, Dept. of Agriculture, MARDI
3-9 July 2005
Women Entrepreneur Group, Agriculture Officers
11-17 Sep 2005
Agriculture Officers, Marketing Execs, Entrepreneurs, Farmers
2-8 April 2006
Agriculture Officers, Private sector, Officers from Pineapple Board
2-8 July 2006
Agriculture Officers, Entrepreneurs, Company representative from India


A total of 112 government officials, entrepreneurs, private sector and farmers have participated in this programme.

This programme includes hands-on practical experience in vacuum fry chip production, fruit nugget production, visits to commercial fruit juice processing plants, cooperatives and small scale food processors. Visits to organic farms are also included.


A Study on Plant Varieties Protection Testing in eight Asian Countries

Joint collaboration between TFNet and GTZ

The protection of plant varieties which have been developed by breeders have recently been given much focus when it comes to legal rights on who it belongs to. It has become imperative now for countries to come up with a legal framework to protect plant varieties or cultivars that are developed by their breeders. The TRIPS (Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights ) under the WTO .

PVP Testing is synonymous with the DUS (Distinctness, Uniformity and Stability) criteria which was introduced by the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants. (UPOV). Generally, breeders in countries who are members of UPOV utilize this DUS characterization to register plant varieties as intellectual property.

The International Tropical Fruits Network (TFNet) has been granted funds from GTZ of Germany to undertake a study on the status of Plant Varieties Protection implementation on Tropical Fruits in eight Asian countries. The countries are Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam.

The objectives of the study are :

  • To assess the current status, constraints and prospects of PVP testing on Tropical Fruits in the selected countries.
  • To assess the institutional aspects of the implementation of PVP testing in the context of administration, PVP registration system, testing facilities and data collaboration in testing and enforcing rights within and among selected countries.
  • To assess the availability of a national database on fruit varieties
  • To assess the feasibility of information sharing between countries in the region.
  • To analyse the sui generis legislation with respect to farmers’ right vis-a-vis problems and challenges in relation to UPOV legislation , and its expected impact for farmers and the national seed market.

The study is headed by the TFNet Chief Executive Officer, who is also the Project Leader. The Project Leader will be assisted by two consultants, one from Germany and the other from Malaysia and the secretariat (TFNet). Besides this, the officers in charge of the PVP Office of the selected eight countries are also involved with this project. Methodology of the study is through questionnaires, country visits and a workshop.

The study involves a survey of the PVP testing mechanism in each of the countries identified through questionnaires which have been prepared by the two consultants. This will be followed by visits to the countries concerned by the consultants and project leader to gather qualitative data acquired through observation and semi-structured interview with relevant individuals from both governmental and non governmental agencies involved with PVP testing with farmers.. Finally, a workshop involving the project leader, consultants and representatives from all the countries involved will be held in Kuala Lumpur in end 2007.

The expected output for this project will be a report on the current status, constraints and prospects of PVP testing system in each of the selected countries. The report will be distributed to institutions working in the field of plant genetic resources in the respective countries. A directory of the PVP testing agencies in each of the countries denoting the test for the different crop types will also be compiled and distributed.

This project is expected to end in December 2007


Technical Assistance for A 3-year Joint Collaborative Project On Post Harvest Handling and Processing of Fruits In Syrian Arab Republic

Joint collaboration between TFNet and Marditech Corporation Sdn. Bhd

International Tropical Fruits Network (TFNet), in collaboration with Marditech Corporation Sdn. Bhd., is currently implementing a Technical Assistance Project on Post-Harvest Handling and Processing of Fruits in the Syrian Arab Republic for a three-year period from 2005 – 2007.

During the last two decades, the production of the fruit sector (e.g. citrus, olive, apples) in Syria increased dramatically. However, little was exported due to the lack of appropriate post-harvest handling and processing such as packing techniques and marketing strategies. Responding to the request by the Syrian Government through its Embassy in Malaysia, the Malaysian Government approved the above technical assistance project in 2004.

This project, funded under the Malaysian Technical Cooperation Programme (MTCP) of the Economic Planning Unit, Prime Minister’s Department, aims to assist Syria in the development of their fruit industry through the provision of consultancy services and include the following activities:

  • To conduct a technical needs assessment for Syria in areas relating to post-harvest development of the fruit sector;
  • To facilitate transfer of appropriate technologies relating to post-harvest development of the fruit industry;
  • To provide a forum for exchange of experience, information and technologies among the stakeholders of the fruit industry of both countries; and
  • To promote close partnership and provide opportunities for bilateral trade.

As part of the agreement of the three year Joint Collaborative Project, a Technical Needs Assessment Study was conducted in Syria from 24 April – 9 May 2005, focusing on the status and development trend of the fruit sector and identifying the technical assistance required for its further development, particularly in the following areas:

  • Policies and institutional support
  • Post-harvest handling and process
  • Extension Services and Agribusiness Development
  • Marketing of major fruits
  • Technology commercialisation


The Transfer of Global Information System on Tropical Fruits with Special Focus on Africa

Funded by the Common Fund for Commodities (CFC) of the United Nations

This project, “The Transfer of Global Information System on Tropical Fruits with Special Focus on Africa”, is funded by the Common Fund for Commodities (CFC) of the United Nations. The information system is developed by International Tropical Fruits Network (TFNet).

In the tropical fruit industry, an important need for any country is to increase productivity and enhance its competitiveness. Increases in production and product quality are highly dependent on improved and readily access to knowledge on all aspects relating to tropical fruits. In recognition of the need to have a unified authoritative reference source on tropical fruit information, International Tropical Fruits Network (TFNet) in collaboration with the Common Fund for Commodities (CFC) has developed this “Global Information on Tropical Fruits”.

The main objective of this project is to provide credible and comprehensive technical information and knowledge on tropical fruits, integrated with trade and marketing information for the benefit of the stakeholders of the tropical fruit industry, including the French speaking stakeholders in the African region so as to:

  • Improve the productivity of the tropical fruit industry;
  • Enhance the quality of tropical fruits; and
  • Expand the tropical fruit trade internationally.

This information system currently contains information on technical, production and trade for 15 selected fruits, namely, avocado, banana, carambola, citrus, durian, guava, jackfruit, lansium, mango, orange, papaya, pineapple, rambutan, sapodilla, and watermelon.