The University of Greenwich is to work with the government, Brussels and supermarkets to help small-scale African produce suppliers make their businesses fully sustainable.
The university's Natural Resources Institute specialises in assisting farmers in the developing world and is focusing on ways of managing increasing demand for produce from Kenya, Ghana, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe, such as green beans, baby corn and sugarsnap peas, which are already supplied to British retailers.
Dr Andrew Graffham said: "At times, the cost of annual standards certification for a small-scale grower of such crops as pineapples in Ghana can become prohibitive."
He will be working with small-scale farmers to conduct cost-benefit analyses of their businesses. "Systems and supply chains need to be built to ensure the long-term survival of these farms."