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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

New ReelFruit factory highlights U.S. government support for Nigeria’s agricultural value chain

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On Thursday, Nigerian-based Nature’s Bounty Health Products (ReelFruit) and the U.S. government celebrated the opening of an 800-metric-ton dried fruit processing facility in Ogun State.

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) began its partnership with ReelFruit in 2021. Through the West Africa Trade & Investment Hub project (Trade Hub), USAID awarded ReelFruit a $500,000 co-investment grant to help restore the company’s supply chain, which had been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

This partnership supported 355 smallholder farmer networks across eight states in Nigeria—AAdamawa, Edo, Ekiti, Kaduna, Lagos, Niger, Ondo, and Oyo—bby providing training on good agronomic practices and directly purchasing their fresh fruits. ReelFruit concurrently invested $2 million sourced through a private equity fund to complete the dried fruit processing factory, scaling up its operations by almost 10-fold.

The Trade Hub improves private sector competitiveness, with a focus on increasing the agricultural productivity and profitability of smallholder farmers in Nigeria and promoting West Africa’s regional and international trade.

“For the last twenty-five years, the U.S. government has been investing in Nigeria’s economic growth, particularly in the agriculture and agribusiness sectors,” Sara Werth, USAID Nigeria’s Deputy Mission Director, said while delivering remarks on behalf of the U.S. government. “Our partnership and investment are made possible through a multisector strategy of engaging government, the private sector, and communities to empower and strengthen local capacities.”

Shortly after the dignitaries gathered to cut the ribbon for the official launch of the factory, ReelFruit CEO Affiong Williams said, “Today marks a momentous occasion in the history of our company. We are proud to have commissioned the largest dried fruit factory in Nigeria, which serves as a testament to my long-term, unwavering belief in Nigeria’s agricultural and manufacturing opportunities. We are going to process our range of dried fruits at scale to serve customers across the country as well as sell ‘Made in Nigeria’ to the rest of the world, creating hundreds of jobs and positively impacting farmers.”

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