How To Start a Fruit Farming Business In Africa

Fruit Farming – Africa is home to tropical fruits but still imports fruit juices and concentrates!

Up to 70 percent of fruits consumed worldwide come from tropical regions. This gives Africa a huge geographical advantage in global fruit production. The continent remains one of the world‘s leading producers of pineapples, mangoes, bananas and citrus (especially oranges). However, due to poor storage and export opportunities, many of these fruits rot away and are wasted every year across Africa.

But here comes a truth that could turn you into a very successful entrepreneur: Did you know that Nigeria alone imports orange concentrates worth US$140 each year?! This is really mind-boggling because Nigeria, like several African countries, produces large quantities of oranges; but because the technology is not available locally, fruit concentrates are still being imported from overseas.

Although countries like Ghana, South Africa, Ivory Coast and Kenya currently earn significant foreign exchange revenues from fruit exports, this has barely scratched the potential of the fruits business in Africa. The rapidly growing fruit juice market also presents a huge opportunity for Africa‘s fruits. Higher fruit juice production on the continent will ensure a steady and high demand for tropical fruits that grow abundantly in Africa.

Business Concept

If you want to make your fruit farming business profitable you have to either produce at higher standards, so you can export or sell to high-end consumers and retailers, or – your best bet in Africa as we have learned so far – produce, process, and brand your product locally.
There is a big demand for strawberries in many countries, because producers of marmalade and yoghurt need the fruits. Producers cannot keep up with demand.

Here is a straightforward idea for a bigger investment of about US$150,000 plus shipment cost to Africa:
Get a mobile fruit juice processing truck. Yes, this amazing vehicle, which looks like a little bus, holds an entire mobile fruit juice factory! Imagine trucking from field to field where farmers have a surplus – you buy – you process while you truck along and even fill the juice into bottles while on the road. That thought has to brighten up your investor heart, right? Warning: Don‘t drive into a pothole on the road… you know the African-style sort of potholes… it could get messy.

Niche Ideas

Fruit concentrates

Fruit juices

Organic baby fruit juices

Coconut milk production at high standard (Indonesia and the Philippines are top in this; Africa is broadly unable to produce high quality coconut milk for the African or the world market)

Strawberries and other berries

Marmalade and jam production. The quality of the available marmalade in Africa is usually very poor, even in top hotels. Learn how to make fresh French or German home-made marmalade of great quality; it is so simple! Package it, brand it and sell it to supermarkets, bakeries, and hotels. This is a business you can start in your own kitchen!

Top Countries & Policy Guidance

Fruit production and processing is a viable business for all countries in Africa that have enough rainfall or access to ground water resources for irrigation.

Action & Tips

Start either with the fruit and choose the best country for the production in Africa, or if you want to operate in a particular country be aware of the fruits that really do well.

Success Story

Africa Felix Mango (Sierra Leone)

Africa Felix Juice is a Sierra Leone-based company that produces juice concentrates from mangoes farmed and harvested across that country. The company buys mangoes from more than 1,000 small farmers in Sierra Leone for $250 to $300 per tree harvest, which is much higher than the $15 these farmers would have received if they sold the same fruits on the local market. Africa Felix Juice collects these mangoes and takes them to its processing facility where they are processed (sorted, washed and crushed) into juice concentrates, the main ingredient for making fruit juices.

By buying fruits from small farmers, the company is creating value from millions of mangoes that otherwise rot away and go to waste every year. The mango juice concentrates produced by Africa Felix Juice are mainly exported to Europe. These concentrates are the first major export from Sierra Leone since it came out from a devastating civil war nearly ten years ago.

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