Biological, technical and agro-economic bases for the co-design of quality agrifood systems - COSAQ

The specific aim of COSAQ is to acquire the knowledge needed to generate and assess novel technical systems targeting both intrinsic and environmental quality objectives.
Pineapple trials at the Cirad Bassin Plat station. © R. Carayol, Cirad
Pineapple trials at the Cirad Bassin Plat station. © R. Carayol, Cirad

Pineapple trials at the Cirad Bassin Plat station. © R. Carayol, Cirad


With over 1,000 establishments, the agrifood value chain accounts for a third of employment in the local industry of Reunion. Its most efficient supply chains are: beverages and alcohols, sugar, meat and milk. Over 50% of foods consumed in Reunion are produced locally. Their quality therefore entails economic development and public health challenges that are essential for the island of Reunion. However, product quality perceived by consumers is the result of a complex process that begins on the farm and continues throughout storage and/or processing, right up to the market. To acquire a proper grasp of this situation, an integrated approach needs to be taken, considering and analysing quality as a continuum "from field to fork".


The purpose of the initiative to co-design quality agrifood systems (COSAQ) is to develop management sequences from producer to consumer, guaranteeing traceability and product quality, in health, sensory and nutritional terms. Quality is studied at product level, but also includes production methods, both biologically (quality building), technically (cultural practices and agroprocessing) and economically (added-value for product quality, design of organization systems, etc.).

The work focuses on tropical fruits and vegetables (mango, pineapple, citrus, banana, cucurbits, Solanaceae, pulses, ‘légumes lontan’, lettuce, onions, etc), high added-value crops (coffee, cocoa, vanilla) and niche products (honey, canna lily).

  • Action 1. Identify and model determinants of yield and quality in agricultural and food products;
  • Action 2. Develop cultural techniques and processing and/or storage methods for agricultural and food products;
  • Action 3. Non-destructively characterize the quality of agricultural and food products.

To date, this project has notably led to:

  • The development of a 3D mock-up of fruit trees to simulate and study light interception by the leaves, the different aspects of functioning and photosynthesis involved in yield build-up and fruit quality;
  • The introduction of organic Victoria pineapple growing in Reunion;
  • Eco-orchards where cultural practices have been introduced to manage pests as an alternative to pesticides.

Expected Changes

  • Modelling of mango yield and quality;
  • Understanding of interactions between yield, quality and pests and diseases for fruit crops;
  • Quality build-up in cubeb pepper;
  • Biological control of pests,-Integrated crop management of orchards;
  • A selection of pineapple cropping systems;
  • Development of alternative post-harvest treatments (essential oils, CO2 shock, hypoxia) to protect mango and pineapple from the development of pests and diseases during storage;
  • Databases on the studied products (pineapple, mango, cocoa, coffee, honey, pepper, sugarcane, etc.); 
  • Spectroscopic data analysis methods;
  • Territorial organization models for resilient farming systems based on the tools developed;
  • New commercial outlets for fruits from integrated fruit production;
  • Tools and methods for dynamic support to stakeholders.

Expected impacts

  • Competitive agriculture in an agroecology mindset, with better yields and quality products with a significant reduction in the environmental and health impacts of fruit production;
  • The production of quality, very high added-value products (cocoa, coffee, honey, cubeb pepper);
  • Efficient levers actionable in zero pesticide systems that help to control pests and diseases (pests, diseases, weeds).
- Farmers in the fruit and coffee supply chains, producer organizations;
- Farming cooperatives;
- IAA;
- Armeflhor;
- Reunion chamber of agriculture;
- CRITT Reunion;
- CTIFL (St Rémy de Provence);
- Lycée agricole de Saint-Paul.
National and international: 
- Agro ParisTech, Montpellier SupAgro, AgroCampus Ouest, ENSAT;
- International research centres (Madagascar, Mauritius, Australia);
- Technical centres (Madagascar);
- French universities (Avignon, La Réunion, Montpellier);
- Overseas universities (Madagascar, South Africa, Mauritius, Australia).