Afie Braimoh launched SACFruits dried Fruits in 2016, a Nigerian company that produces healthy fruits snacks in form of dried fruit slices. Her company was born out of a need to tackle waste in food produce and to create a sustainable value chain to empower farmers.
Prior to setting up her company, Braimoh who was helping to set up a fruit juice company for a client in Benue, first considered towing the same line of setting up a juice company but considering their shelf life, she had a rethink.
Prior to this, Afie was hired from Florida in the US to manage the setup of a juice manufacturing plant in Benue State – Nigeria’s acclaimed “food basket” – where she learnt that many famers in Benue suffer huge post-harvest losses due to a lack of storage facilities and poor roads.
“I saw lots of rot in food produce,” Braimoh recalls, and she started to think of a solution to create a sustainable value chain while empowering farmers.
She began experimenting by drying fruits in her kitchen dehydrator and after some weeks of doing that, gave out samples at her office, church and to friends and family.
The feedback she got encouraged her to seek and get the approval of the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) in Nigeria. In less than a year after her launch, SACFruits was in over 70 stores across the country. That number has increased to over 200 stores currently.
SACFruits are produced and packaged in three variants – mango, pineapple, and a medley of fruits consisting cashew nut, coconut, strawberry, mango and pineapple, all gluten-free, allergen-free and non-genetically modified.
Her advice to aspiring entrepreneurs in Nigeria is for them to conduct researches and understand the industry and territory. “Just because it has worked for you globally, doesn’t mean it will work for you in Nigeria,” she told venturesafrica.com.
According to her, the risks of doing business in Nigeria are very high, but the rewards are higher. “You have to be prepared to be in it for the long haul. Be financially savvy. Be passionate and focused.”
Last year, SACFruits was nominated by the African Creative Exhibition and Awards as the Best Food Produce Innovation in Nigeria.