Larger sales volumes and better job prospects at Fruittiland
We had an interview with Steven Ago Annan, assistant logistics, who joined Fruittiland in 2010. The company’s core business is buying citrus fruits and processing them into juice concentrate for European markets. Fruittiland was established in 2009 by four Ghanaian entrepreneurs.
Steven Ago Annan is a carpenter by profession. He is 41 years old, married and has two children. Before joining Fruittiland, Steven worked for a Ghanaian organization in a completely different sector. Within Fruittiland Steven learned to work in teams and was trained in handling machines, organizing the shipping process and managing cold storage operations.
Why do you like to work for Fruittiland?
Well, through my work at Fruittiland my life has changed significantly. I used to be a carpenter and did not have much experience in storage and shipping. In my job at Fruittiland I became a real professional in all sorts of logistical processes. In our sector storing and distribution are crucial to be successful. I was trained in time and resource management, work ethics and building relationships in teams. These are competencies that I can use really well within Fruittiland and would also be extremely useful for other enterprises.
My new competencies allowed me to increase my income and take better care of my family. Before it was difficult for me to take care of my children, give them a good education and healthcare. Many of my colleagues experienced similar positive changes. In the main season, Fruittiland employs about 220 people directly and about 5000 indirectly. Approximately 70% are young adults and 30% women. All these people benefit from working at Fruittiland, not just because of the regular income, but also because of the skills they acquire for example in handling the machinery.
How did Fruittiland’s partnership with 2SCALE change the company?
Before, the company was producing juice concentrate but the quality standards were not always good enough for our European customers. With the support of 2SCALE partners we improved the quality standards and can sell much larger volumes. Now we are also producing a much larger variety of products. We have an oil line, a pulp line and we are aiming to add new machines to process other produces as well. Fruittiland is growing and diversifying continuously. We see many opportunities as we learn new things every day. We regularly meet with foreigners who come and train us. Farmers’ attitudes are changing and this, for us, is the biggest change, we have succeeded in structuring the company very well. I am growing professionally every day and I get a lot of new ideas. By introducing new product lines, Fruittiland also creates many new farming opportunities for crops we did not source before.
Does Fruittiland produce for and sell to local and regional consumers?
Quite frankly, we currently sell mostly in bulk to the European markets. Local consumers would not be able to buy the bulk goods. However, we have recently decided to start selling to individual consumers as well and to this end we are attending fairs to get exposure and create demand. First we need to set up a ‘ready to drink’ product line and develop small packets and bottles and establish appropriate sales and distribution channels. We need to sell at an affordable price. I am convinced that we will manage to do so and that Fruittiland will become the number one juice producer in West Africa. This will also be very positive for the farmers we buy from. They will be trained in better farming practices such as the use of fertilizers. And since we gained a lot of knowledge on quality standards and how to work with the farmers, it will be easier to start with other fruits such as passion, cashew and mango and sell more products in the region as well as to our European customers. Working with the 2SCALE partners has brought us a lot!