Mangoes fall like dew in Africa and many are left to rot. While others failed to see an opportunity in this, Hamza Hashim never hesitated to create an organic juice for the people.
After working as a cocoa trader in 2012, Hamza Hashim saw the massive difference in price and availability of fresh fruit between the rural areas and the city. Few years later, he set out to create an organic juice company with one sole target in mind — to reduce waste and give farmers better livelihoods.
With his company, a long chain was invented between local farmers, formal and informal vendors, and down to the people. Over 5,000 local farmers supply mangoes and pineapples to Sierra Juice.
Hamza Hashim shared a story about his journey:
“…On many farms I saw mangoes lying on the ground and rotting away. Children played with it.
Now the fruit is turned into juice, and the farmers earn a wage with it. I was recently with one of them and didn’t see any children playing anywhere. ‘Are they missing the mangoes?’ I asked.
“No. They are in school for the first time in their lives,” said the farmer. That’s the change I’m doing it for,”
Over time, one could very easily find Hamza Hashim’s juice in all parts of the country. With Sierra Juice on every table, the juice factory called Capitol Foods in collaboration with Hivos and Triodos Bank continues to join hands in improving the African economy.
How Hamza Hashim reformed the entire cocoa sector in Sierra Leone
“Before the civil war (1991-2002), Sierra Leone exported about 30,000 tons of cocoa per year.
But it was precisely in the fields that the fiercest fighting took place. When the war was over, the cocoa plantations were overgrown.
Many cocoa trees had died. No one believed that the farmers would return to the neglected plantations.
“That’s why we went to pre-finance farmers with our family business to get this done. They were given tools and seeds for new trees.
When I took over my father’s company, I wanted to change something. The price of cocoa was determined too much by the traders far away in offices and not by the farmers.
Thus they were at the mercy of the middlemen, resulting in exploitation. I therefore decided that all our cocoa should be organic.
It not only offers a better margin, it is also better for the nature.
“And so Capitol was the first in Sierra Leone to obtain UTZ certification, a hallmark for fair trade. Children are not allowed to work on the plantations and farmers do not use chemicals and fertilizers.
In 2015, we were also the first in the country to achieve organic certification. The farmers improved on average by 5 to 10% and are assured of a regulated purchase. Ultimately, other cocoa producers followed suit.
For example, the entire sector in Sierra Leone has become fairer and more sustainable. We have now built a factory so that the first step of the processing process is already in Sierra Leone itself and not outside it.
The more we already process cocoa in Sierra Leone, the better for the farmers and workers at the factory.”
By Elijah Christopher