Trade Minister visits First Step
The Minister of Trade Industry and State Enterprises, Honourable, Alhaji Usman Boie Kamara, on Tuesday 7th May 2013, paid a one day familiarisation visit to Africa Felix Juice (AFJ) factory at Newton on the outskirts of Freetown.
The Manager of AFJ, Mr. Edward Conteh, together with his administrative staff, took the Hon. Minister on a conducted tour of the administrative building and the factory, including entrance to fruit reception, warehouse, and the production area.
Mr. Edward Conteh told the Minister of Trade that the dearth of electricity in their operation zone is costing them a lot adding that the only option they have is the solar panel which they use to generate electricity.
Mr. Edward Kamara further disclosed that the factory is being constructed on 50 acres of land and added that when completed, it will be a one stop shopping complex as Africa Felix Juice is a company with a unique combination of skills and experience to create a successful export orientation in the agricultural business venture.
Mr. Edward Kamara noted that the quality mangoes they are using to manufacture the juice come from Port Loko and Bombali district, to which he said they are working in strict compliance of the local content policy proclaimed by President Koroma in his ‘agenda for prosperity.’
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of AJF, Mr. Claudio Scotto, disclosed amongst other things that they are working strictly by their local content policy to boost the margin of sales export for which their product has an 18 month warranty for the concentrated products, including pineapple, mango, paw-paw and cashew fruit.
According to him, for a healthy life, people should drink Sierra Leone made mango juice, he stressed that they have markets in Spain, UK, Holland, Germany, Brazil, Azerbaijan, Ghana and Turkey.
He maintained that they provide the input to the farmers to produce more in order to sell to local factories. FIRST STEP, he said is the landlord working around the clock to showcase AFJ as First Step in juice production with 25% local recipes in the business.
He disclosed: “We also have a potential site at Port Loko which is 224 acres of land for which we are calling Sierra Leoneans to come to opt for the job of bottling of the juice since we can only do the sachet product for now,” he stated, adding that, “We have now grown over two million pineapples in the country He added that they also have plans to packet tomato paste together with jumbo.
Responding, Hon. Usman Boie Kamara said it is good that the farmers are now having a market for their produce as the more they cultivate the more they make money and in such a way the people would end up becoming self reliant, which actualises the pet project of President Koroma in the ‘agenda for prosperity.’ Hon. Usu Boie therefore called on them to do more for the people of Sierra Leone.
Mr. Fara Jawara clarified that the company do not have any intention to import from Guinea as Sierra Leone is the best they could invest in the area of local content policy as the Government is business friendly. He revealed that there is no expatriates working in the factory and added that the fertility of the land is good in Sierra Leone.
By Dennis Jones
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