The family business Les Céréales de Tatam (LCT) transforms cereals traditionally grown in Mali (eg fonio, millet, maize etc.) into nutritive flour. The company sources the cereals from a Malian cooperative of producers with over 1,000 members. During Innovations...
Impact story – ReelFruit
Brand Name: ReelFruit
Affiong Williams is an ambitious resilient entrepreneur who has found a fruit packaging and processing company that has become the largest in Nigeria in over 10+ years of operations. Today, ReelFruit’s nutrient-rich and preservative free dried fruit and nut snacks are available in over 1,000 retail points in Nigeria, as well as airlines, hotels and schools. A team of 180+ employees across 3 regional offices in Nigeria contributes to the company’s successful development. Affiong’s achievements and commitment to supporting local agricultural value chain have been acknowledged by many awards and prizes, including the 1st Nigerian Bold Woman Award bestowed by Veuve Clicquot in 2022.
The company recently closed a USD 3M venture capital financing (Series A) and is constructing a new state-of-the-art processing and packing facility in Abeokuta, Nigeria. With an installed processing capacity of 400 metric tons per annum, ReelFruit aims to fivefold their production to meet the growing demand in the domestic and international markets. This expansion is expected to create over 1500 direct and indirect jobs in the next five years. A partner-beneficiary of COLEAD since 2020, ReelFruit has received tailor-made support under the support programmes FFM and FFM SPS, including to review the new facility lay-out prior to the final commissioning of the building to ensure that international food safety standards were incorporated in the construction.
In the Innovations Session n°2, Affiong presented how she started this pioneering business and introduced dried fruit snack to Nigerian customers. The challenges of undertaking this journey were to develop new products while creating demand for them. This required strong investment in marketing, building a large distribution, a strong brand and a wide product range. ReelFruit is committed to training farmers on fruit production best practices to improve their productivity and skills, and so positively impact the fruit value chain in Nigeria. The company supports Nigerian coconut farmers in Badagry to produce more coconuts of higher quality by donating coconut seedlings. This positively impacts the local economy with coconut processors having access to better raw materials and, in turn, consumers to healthier, more flavorful coconut products. ReelFruit has also created employment for 50 rural women trained to grow high quality, export grade mangoes in Kaduna. A social business partner, Reelfuit has launched an agro-extension programme to provide technical training to 250 farmers from 5 states (Kaduna, Niger, Nasarawa, Adamawa, and Ekiti) with whom they have established long-term relationships. This programme encourages sustainable farm practices and aims to increase their farms’ productivity and improve the quality of their yield. The objective is to create a market for the farmers raw materials and sustainable incomes streams.
Focusing on youth, ReelFruit also offers a training and job-matching programme designed to equip young people with technical and soft skills that are highly demanded by SMEs in the food processing sector. Participants in ReelSkills for Agribusiness can be trained either in food processing or in digital sales and marketing. They also benefit from the opportunity of being connected with decent jobs within the agri-processing sector. This project is funded by the Netherlands Government under the Challenge Fund a Youth Employment (CFYE) programme.
Many factors have contributed to ReelFruit’s expansion, including a strong network of finance, business and support partners. Strategic connections are being made by attending trainings, business competitions, trade fairs, conferences etc. Affiong discussed, for example, the continued efforts to build ReelFruit’s infrastructure capacities and strengthen linkages through vital distribution networks during two events convened by COLEAD and other partners such as FARA, IFAD, GFAR and YPARD at the 8th African Agribusiness and Science Week (AASW8) that was held in June 2023.
Find out more about ReelFruit on the following pages:
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