NIGERIA – Nigerian-based Nature’s Bounty Health Products, known as ReelFruit, and the United States government celebrated the grand opening of an 800-metric ton dried fruit processing facility in Abeokuta, Ogun State, Nigeria.

This milestone not only underscores ReelFruit’s commitment to growth and innovation but also highlights the pivotal role of U.S. government support in advancing Nigeria’s agricultural value chain.

The journey toward this achievement began in 2021 when ReelFruit entered a partnership with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

This collaboration has proven instrumental in empowering 355 smallholder farmers across Nigeria, contributing to enhanced productivity and job creation.

Through the West Africa Trade and Investment Hub project (Trade Hub), USAID granted ReelFruit a co-investment of USD 500,000.

This financial support played a crucial role in revitalizing ReelFruit’s supply chain, which faced challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The project targeted smallholder farmer networks in eight Nigerian states, offering training on good agronomic practices and direct purchase of their fresh fruits.

Sara Werth, USAID Nigeria’s Deputy Mission Director, emphasized the long-term commitment of the U.S. government to Nigeria’s economic growth, particularly in the agriculture and agribusiness sectors. She stated, “Our partnership and investment are made possible through a multi-sector strategy of engaging government, the private sector, and communities to empower and strengthen local capacities.”

Affiong Williams, CEO of ReelFruit, expressed pride in commissioning the largest dried fruit factory in Nigeria.

Williams stated, “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 opportunity.”

Williams further highlighted the broader impact of the facility, stating, “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.”

Nigeria’s position in the dried fruits market

The significance of Nigeria’s efforts in the dried fruits market is underscored by both exports and imports playing a vital role in the country’s economic landscape.

In 2021, Nigeria exported USD 62,000 worth of dried fruits, ranking as the 111th largest exporter globally.

Key destinations for Nigeria’s dried fruits exports included Canada, Niger, South Africa, Senegal, and Saudi Arabia.

Highlighting the growth trajectory, the fastest-growing export markets for dried fruits from Nigeria between 2020 and 2021 were Niger, Senegal, and Saudi Arabia.

On the import side, Nigeria imported USD 75,300 worth of dried fruits in 2021. Leading sources of these imports were China, India, Malaysia, South Africa, and Turkey.

Notably, the fastest-growing import markets for dried fruits in Nigeria between 2020 and 2021 were China, Malaysia, and South Africa.

As ReelFruit’s new facility gears up for full-scale operations, it not only stands as a testament to successful international collaboration but also positions Nigeria as a key player in the global dried fruits market, contributing significantly to the country’s economic growth and trade relations.

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