AFRICA FELIX JUICE
Africa Felix Juice (AFJ), FIRST STEP’s anchor tenant, is a Joint Venture between Africa Felix Ltd (of Sierra Leone), Tropical Food Machinery (of Italy), and FIRST STEP Economic Opportunity Zone, Inc. Using the latest in food processing technology, the company produces fruit juice concentrate for export to the international community from the innumerable pineapples and mangoes farmed throughout Sierra Leone. AFJ directly employs close to 100 Sierra Leoneans and provides a ready market for nearly 5,000 small farmers throughout the country. Founded by Claudio Scotto, the company’s CEO, AFJ’s mission is to “be a reliable partner of bottlers and brokers in the global drink industry providing a product of proven and reliable quality. It aims in the medium term to become a pioneer and leader in the fair trade tropical fruit juice concentrate market in the EU.”
AFJ began successful operations in April 2011 and is now exporting fair trade and commodity juice concentrate to customers in the EU, Middle East, and the Americas.
SIERRA COFFEE MILLS
Sierra Coffee Mills (SCM) is Sierra Leone’s first vertically integrated coffee and cocoa processing facility. SCM is training smallholder farmers in the country on a new way to process their coffee that adds value in-country and allows farmers to earn a higher income. After training from SCM in best agricultural, environmental and social farming practices, farmers are certified with Organic and UTZ associations, which creates a 10 percent premium on crops sold and increases crop yields 50 percent, resulting in a significant increase to farmer’s income.
The coffee beans are processed into Sierra Leone’s first Graded and Washed Robusta coffee and is then sold to SCM partner, Bijdendjik BV, a Dutch coffee trading house established 1841. SCM founders also developed the country’s first ever 100 percent origin bar with UK chocolatier ‘Willies Cacao’, proving that Sierra Leone cocoa can produce gourmet quality chocolate. SCM now processes cocoa beans into a semi-finished chocolate for export to artisan chocolatiers to finish in Europe and USA.
Sierra Coffee Mills processing facility is located at First Step Economic Opportunity Zone, a subsidiary of World Hope International.
Africa Felix Juice directly employs close to 100 Sierra Leoneans and provides a ready market for nearly 5,000 small farmers throughout the country.