Nearly 2,000 farmers supply mangoes to African Felix Juice

Nearly 2,000 farmers organised into 149 cooperatives have been contracted to supply mangoes to the Africa Felix Juice Factory at Newton.
This was disclosed by Steven Grudda the Mango Out grower project Coordinator for World Hope International.
After the setting up of the Juice factory it was necessary to establish a supply chain for the raw material.
Steven told Awoko that “in the beginning of the project we held twelve sensitization meetings in eleven Chiefdom headquarter towns (in the Tonkolili and Bombali districts) to make the people aware of the project and we invited them to participate.”
He explained that they then distributed packages which the villagers took back to their communities to discuss and decide on forming themselves into cooperatives. Steven stressed that they dealt with people who had mango farms and others who depended on wild mango trees. Some 290 forms were later returned and the African Felix Juice factory now decided to sign a contract with 149 cooperatives.
These cooperatives number about 15 to 35 farmers and they participate by bringing their mangoes to the collection centre.
At the collection centre all of the villager’s mangoes are loaded into crates and the group secretary marks down how many crates each contributor’s mangoes sells then the Africa Felix agent pays the group secretary or the group treasurer or the Chairman whoever it is for the total that the cooperative has supplied.
Then it is the responsibility of the leadership to share the money according to the amount of mangoes that each member brought.
Some groups he said have decided to put money aside for group activities like micro finance loans or emergency medical fees.
Steven explained that the reason why they have used cooperatives is because they are “established within the village, have strong institutional and conflict mechanisms in place such that if there is a dispute between the members of the cooperative and the leadership of the cooperative there is already a hierarchy or a leadership back in the village that can solve that problem.”
As part of their strategy to ensure transparency, Steven said “we spread the news about the Le4,000 per crate through all the villages so all the people know how much money they should get for each crate” of mangoes.
Questioned about the whether the quality of the mangoes is checked before being bought he explained that “what happens is that the truck parks and empty crates are offloaded and the people are there with all their mangoes waiting – then they begin loading on to the crates then the Africa Felix agent with the truck checks if the mangoes are too strong or too rotten.”
There are a number of varieties of mangoes with different flavours. However the Mango Out grower project Coordinator for World Hope International said the way they decided to do it for this season “was not to sort them.”
Grudder explained that the African Felix Juice company “decided to offer the same price for a crate filled with any kind of mango except kerosene mango because of the flavour.”
As such the “guinea, big cherry, laberry, rope rope, sheep tone, common mango all of those the company will buy them all.”
A crate of Mangoes weigh around 22 kilos and sells for four thousand Leones which is a flat rate.