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Saturday, February 15


"Food is our common ground,
a universal experience."
~James Beard

Did you ever wonder at the identity of the bright orange fruit featured on all Fruit Logistica promotional material? Before the event, I had not been exposed to even a photograph of it. On this basis, it classifies as an exotic fruit.
Standing poster/board

While being pervasive on event material, it proved more difficult to locate the actual fruit on the stands. After walking miles of hallway, I finally located them on the second day of the Fruit Logistica. They were laid out at the Santa Margarita stand. In good exhibition fashion they are displayed both whole and cut open. As attractively orange as the outside is, the inside is garishly green. I am not eager to taste this fruit. Maybe I might be so inclined if there was a stand which served recipes of the kiwano.

The Star of the Show

So what is this famous mystery? The name of this fruit is Kiwano. A google search produces other names by which this fruit is known: horned melon, jelly melon, hedged gourd and melano. The alias African horned cucumber attests to its origins and explains why the seeds seem familiar to those of cucumber (Cucumis sativus).

Another exotic fruit (in my books) presents itself. This discovery looks less intimidating and I am willing to taste test. What a coincidence that it too is orange and the name begins with the letter "K"- Kaki. I have found it in the Spain section where samples are being distributed. It is delicious! It also helps to know that this fruit is a powerhouse of nutritional benefits which includes Vitamin C-just like the kiwano.
Right side up-Samples of kaki
 On the promotional material given, it states that : "Due to its sweet flavour a lot of people think that kaki fruit is fattening , but the caloric value is not exceedingly high." No doubt this makes a great option for healthy food dieters- if you can get your hands on it.

Bottoms up-Kaki in display case
In general, the Fruit Logistica was an wholesome opportunity to broaden my fruit experiences with new perspectives gained on familiar fruit and discovering the unfamiliar.

Please note that for additional photo moments of the Fruit Logistica, you can visit the D.I.G Facebook Page album

Additional resources: 

Sunday, February 9


Within the category of familiar fruits seen at the Fruit Logistica, it was interesting to encounter new varieties and value added products. One such example was mangoes. A wide range of African mangoes were exhibited namely: Palmer, Amelie, Smith, Keitt and Kent.

Mango Palmer at the Fruit Logistica

It has been lamented for years that during the mango season in Saint Lucia, much of the produce is wasted due to a lack in processing options. Dried mango snacks is one such option featured at the event. I had the opportunity to taste two brands:  7 Days Dried Mango from Pakistan made with Chaunsa mangoes; and Mama's Flavour from Tanzania. 
Mama's Flavour wins the taste test. My opinion was supported by my colleagues Additionally, they are solar dried and contain no additional ingredients. Other dried products include bananas, paw paw and pineapple.

Product of Pakistan

Product of Tanzania

Other dried mango snacks available were Bomarts Dried Mango from Ghana and SFA Premium Dried Mangoes from Pakistan.

Product of Ghana

Product of Pakistan

Before venturing into the production in dried fruit snacks due research must inform the best variety for processing and consumer taste preference. It would also be advantageous to follow the example of Tanzania with solar dried fruit for cost effectiveness, sustainability and tastiness.

Please  note: Additional photo highlights of the Fruit Logistica can be found on the D.I.G Facebook page


"A fruit is not afraid of its own weight.
It grows into its skin fully. It is whole,
each part of its body equally alive"
~Gayle Brandeis 

Can you relate to the experience of being lost? Imagine that this is your first time in Berlin and you become separated from your group of friends and/or family in the vast crowd. Imagine the sense of panic And then on rejoining the group, the immense of relief! While most of the fruits featured at the Fruit Logistica were not completely foreign to me, some were unfamiliar. Examples such as imported apples, strawberries, pears and plums can be found on supermarket shelves in Saint Lucia. Like unexpectedly meeting old friends in new places, it was even more amazing to encounter fruits that are grown in Saint Lucia. 

1. Sugar Apples

Imagine my pleasant surprise to come across sugar apples at the Pakistan stand! They were displayed on the counter among other fruits. Their whites smiled up at me and I smiled down at them as we have known each other from my childhood. Our love relationship started ever since I was old enough to eat foods with seeds. The Pakistanis call them custard apples, but sugar apple is more fitting. 
Sugar apple opened for display

2. Sapodillas

Another joy to behold was the sapodilla. "Sapotee", as it is called locally is another long time love. The insides are not as dark as those I have enjoyed, but I imagine that they taste just as sweet when they ripen.
Sapotee cut open for display

3. Bananas

I imagine that a ripe banana is a ray of sunshine in the breakfast menu of anyone who resides in Europe. Especially during autumn and winter with the bleak, cold weather. Bananas, both ripe and green, were displayed by several territories throughout the event.
Green bananas in packaging at the Ghana stand

4. Pomegranate

A recent trend in the food business is the promotion of nutritional foods. More specifically, a niche market has been created for products with antioxidant properties which are available at premium price. Pomegranate is one such example; it can be found in many products from food to cosmetics. Where was this wonder fruit before all the market visibility? "Ponm gwennad" as it is called locally, was available in our backyards for free. 

Ponm gwennad on display
Packaging of the pomn gwennad

5. Passion Fruit

Purple passion fruit is a major African export. They were prominently displayed on lighted signs and in the arrangements which graced the stands. The illuminated images effectively transported me to tropical conditions while onsite in cold Berlin. A cold glass of passion fruit juice can however be refreshing in any climate.
Sign at the Kenya stand

The magnitude of the Fruit Logistica event is unimaginable amazing! You need to experience it to believe it. As an advertisement  seen at one of the stands depicts, the experience can be described as being bathed in fruit. However, there is still capacity for new participants. Can you imagine that at Fruit Logistica 2015, Saint Lucia reserves a stand? Or even better, for the Caribbean to be represented in an entire section? We should definitely showcase our primary and value added agricultural products.
Fruit Logistica is like being bathed in food

Please  note: Additional photo highlights of the Fruit Logistica can be found on the D.I.G Facebook

Wednesday, February 5


A tale of two regions:

Yam is produced in Saint Lucia and the wider Caribbean region. It is also produced in Africa but at a much greater scale of production. In this post we focus on the fascinating account of Ghana's successful yam export as related by a major exporter. With over 100 yam export companies in Ghana, his business has a 30% share of the yam export industry. His yams are prominently displayed at the Ghana stand at the Fruit Logistica which began today in Berlin, Germany. My presence at this trade fair is due to the gracious invitation of COLEACP. African states are well represented at this event, and the Ghana stand is an excellent example.

Prized yams in their viewing case

Competitive Advantages

1. Climate

Traditionally, agricultural production coincides with peak rainfall periods of the year. Ghana's rainy season begins in March/April. This allows a competitive advantage over major competitors, whose rainy seasons occur later in the year. To supply the European demand for this tasty tuber, this exporter ships 200,000 yams per month! At the moment since demand is greater, he has opted for air transport to fill the demand in between shipments.


Nice dry yams
What makes the buyer yearn for yams from Ghana? The distinct taste of the yams has earned them their renown. The taste is even preferred over the taste of yams from other competing African nations such as Nigeria and the Ivory Coast. Ghana has enjoyed success in particular with the variety, Puna. Hopefully, I may get the opportunity to experience the taste test myself without the guarantee of objectivity! I would like to taste the difference between their yam and our yam.

Also, customer satisfaction depends on minimal loss due to spoilage. To achieve this, the harvested yams are kept in the warehouse for three weeks prior to shipping. In this time, all the pieces of yam which would have spoiled would be sorted. During this period, moisture which accelerates post harvest loss would have dried off the yams selected for export.

On first impressions of Fruit Logistica, I had not imagined that root crops would be featured. This pleasant surprise afforded me a first hand learning experience of the scope of the international tuber trade. With African and Caribbean diaspora, Ghana's yams are well poised to take advantage of this European niche market.

Additional resources:

Analysis of Incentives and Disincentives for Yam in Ghana