The European market for juices, especially organic or Fairtrade, is growing in a fast pace. Therefore, exporting fruit juices to Europe is an interesting business opportunity for companies in fruit producing countries. One of these companies is Sierra Agri Inc. (SAI), active in Sierra Leone. SAI is the first company in Sierra Leone exporting fruit juices and fruit extracts to Europe. SAI aims at increasing their volume produced by working with smallholder farmers that are not yet included in international value chains.
To meet the growing demand from Europe, SAI is planning to scale up its production of juices and concentrates. For the desired production high volumes of fruit need to be sourced, which SAI is committed to source from at least 50% smallholder farmers. Currently there is a gap between the efficiency and the organisational level of SAI’s supply base and SAI’s ambitions. The necessary transition is the core of the 2-year ‘Juice worth the squeeze’ project.
The smallholders come in many different types, are mainly unorganized and among the poorest of Sierra Leone. The ‘Juice worth the squeeze’ project will offer them the opportunity to increase their turnover, which will have a significantly positive effect on their livelihood. For the project, SAI has formed a consortium with FairMatch Support, its local Sierra Leone partner JULA Consultancy and Woord & Daad. Juice worth the Squeez is supported by IDH.
FairMatch Support and JULA will support smallholders in becoming efficient suppliers to SAI and by that professionalize their business. Famers will be organised, receive targeted training and new farmer groups will be identified. A ‘train the trainer’ approach will be implemented in order to assure long term sustainability and improve farming business activities beyond certification.
Our methodology is applied around the cropping season of mango and coco. SAI will be assisted in managing the supply chain efficiently and implement the Fair Factory model, as it has been developed by Woord & Daad.
During the first scoping mission to Sierra Leone last november FairMatch Support and Sierra Agra teamed up to visit smallholder farmers to learn about the challenges they face. First steps were made towards improvements for the 2019 season.