Key trends affecting the industry
TFNet strategic direction will be based on six typical issues and challenges in the global tropical fruit situation:
- Most smallholder farmers lack the knowledge and skills to regularly produce quality and marketable fruits. Focus on pre- and post- harvest studies and most importantly transfer of technology and capacity building for all participants in the supply chain, growers to retailers.
- Commercial fruit production and exports are normally run by big companies with smallholders involved only as producers at the upstream stage. There is lack of smallholders farmers integration into the value chain.
- Development of tropical fruits production is constrained by the lack of technology, information and capacity for many countries. They also fail to carry out biosecurity measures and implement proper sanitary and phytosanitary requirements,resulting in pests and diseases being introduced or spread to other localities.
- Lack of centralised information on tropical fruits specifically on market demand, trends and market access requirements.
- The impacts of climate change show unpredictable harvests, increased incidences of pests and diseases, seasonal production variations and impact on market security and income.
- Postharvest losses along the value chain is still a persistent issue especially among smallholder farmers.
TFNet has plans to carry out its activities in line with its objectives and mission with focus to:
- Update information database and disseminate to members and stakeholders through the website and newsfeed.
- Develop programmes with strategic partners to minimize the impact of pests and diseases to improve productivity and quality while providing better cultivars with higher productivity, better marketability, disease tolerant or resistant and adaptable to various environments.
- Develop projects and capacity building programmes, especially the utilization of recent technologies which can reduce postharvest losses all along the chainby implementing Good Agricultural Practices in order to produce quality fruitsto facilitate market access of fruits. This also includes the judicious use of chemicals to ensure the MRLs are within safe limits.
- Integrate smallholders into the value chain to enhance economic returns and public private partnerships.
- Familiarise fruit producers and stakeholders with plant biosecurity measures and Sanitary and Phytosanitary regulations. This is imperative, especially when there is a global effort to prevent diseases from spreading from one country to another. It is also important to manage endemic pests and diseases tokeep them below the threshold level.
- Promote the consumption of tropical fruits to complement other fruit types for a more balanced and healthy diet. Some of the fruit species can also be termed as ‘superfruits’ due to the high content of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
- Encourage gender empowerment where women folk are given opportunities to actively participate in the value chain especially in processing, fruit collecting and trade.
- Promote and facilitate market access of tropical fruits to importing countries through participation in fruit exhibitions.
Our Main Programmes
In order to achieve our mission, the thrusts of our cross cutting programmes will:
- Promote cooperation and information sharing among members and other networks, especially that pertaining to transfer of technology, market access through the website and newsfeed.
- Facilitate technical and economic cooperation in the tropical fruit sector in member and non-member countries in pursuance of sustainable production, strengthening of domestic and export markets, poverty reduction and food security andenhancing the knowledge of value addition and nutritive values of tropical fruits.
- Build on developing and organizing capacity building programmes on tropical fruit industry such as workshops, symposiums, study tours and conferencesfor members.
- Provide need based technical services and consultancies through engagement of experts within the network, in their respective fields.
Among the activities of TFNet are to:
- strengthen data collection and analyses, documentation and dissemination of information on tropical fruits;
- improve awareness and understanding of the tropical fruit markets;
- monitor impacts of regional and international agreements on production and trade policies;
- promote research and development of technologies of eco-regional importance;
- conduct seminars and workshops,
- strengthen linkages between tropical fruit producers and consumers; and
- encourage financing and investment in tropical fruits sector.
Key Accomplishments of TFNet
Since 2000, TFNet has carried out various activities to pursue its mandate in the areas of capacity building, information exchange, studies and consultancies.
1. Information Exchange
- Setting up of TFNet Information Portal & website
includes fruit compendium, experts list and discussion forum. In 2008, web portal was upgraded to include more comprehensive fruit information, blog and resource persons list.
- Collaborated in the establishment of MyFruit.org portal on information pertaining to the 10 prioritized Malaysian Fruits.
- The setting up of a ‘Global Information System on tropical fruits with special focus on Africa’ which was funded by CFC. This is available in English and French.
- The dissemination of information through E-newsletters to members and stakeholders
2. International Seminars
Series of international seminar had been organized, each on a different focus on tropical and subtropical fruits.
- International technical and trade seminar on Tropical and subtropical fruits (2001)
- International seminar on Postharvest Handling and Processing of Tropical and subtropical fruits (2003)
- International seminar on Economics and Marketing of Tropical and subtropical fruits (2007)
- International seminar on Consumer Trends and Export of Tropical and Subtropical Fruits (2008)
- International seminar on Recent Developments in the Production, Post harvest Management and Trade of Minor Tropical Fruits (2009)
3. International Study Tours
- Since 2004, twice a year study tours and hands-on workshops on fruit/food processing have been organized for entrepreneurs and government agencies to East Java, Indonesia.
- Study tours have been organized for entrepreneurs, extension agents and researchers from Indonesia and Malaysia to fruit farms, wholesale markets and food processing centers in Thailand.
4. Other Workshops
- The Transfer of Global Information System on Tropical Fruits with Special Focus on Africa – funded by CFC
- International Study Visit cum Workshop on Post Harvest Handling and Processing of Tropical and Subtropical Fruits – funded by IDB
- Training Courses on GAP and Plant & Soil Nutrition
5. Studies and Consultancies
- Country study on Elements of Strategies and Action Plan for Sustainable Development of Tropical Fruit Industry. Studies done on 4 countries – Bangladesh, Fiji, Malaysia and Philippines and all studies funded by FAO
- On-Farm Conservation and Utilization of Traditional Fruit Species in Malaysia – TFNet, MARDI, DOA, UKM
- Technical Assistance for a Three-Year Joint Collaborative Project on Post-harvest Handling and Processing of Fruits in Syrian Arab Republic
- Study of Plant Variety Protection Testing of Tropical Fruits in Eight Asian Countries – funded by GTZ
- Competitiveness study for 6 fruit and 3 vegetable types in five South East Asian countries (joint study with Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute)
- Consultancy on East Coast Economic Region Integrated Pineapple Project in the South West Pahang, Malaysia (Districts of Pekan and Rompin)