The recent visit of Benin’s President Talon to China was particularly interesting for Africans because during the visit, he secured a new agreement granting permission to export the West African nation’s fresh pineapples to China. This might mean that Beninese pineapples are joining a rapidly growing list of fresh products that are finally allowed to be exported to the Chinese market.

Although this is a huge success on paper, there are many challenges to overcome if Benin is to really capitalise on this deal. Benin is not the first African country to export pineapples to China. Tanzania, Kenya and South Africa have all exported small volumes of preserved pineapples to China for a few years before exports fizzled out entirely.

Benin does have a significant advantage over other countries; its pineapples are significantly cheaper than those in the Asia-Pacific to import and have been consistently so. From 2018 to 2021 the primary value of Benin’s pineapples per kilogram averaged US $1.4 compared to Indonesia’s US $14.7, Thailand’s US $2.4 and the Philippines’s US $4.7 all also fluctuated in value. Benin can definitely utilise this when trying to capture the market.