Carine and Esther Djé

Carine & Esther Djé

Abidjan, also referred to as the economic and cultural crossroads of West Africa, is characterized by a cityscape of gleaming skyscrapers. Beyond this surface, local life pulses in the shape of markets, artisans and … BANANAS. Ivory Coast is rich in fruit resources, yet due to a lack of processing possibilities, a large part is being discarded. The UN ambitiously announced the goal of halving worldwide food waste by 2030. The dialogue is most centered around the theme of “post-harvest losses”: the products that leave farmer’s fields but never make their way into consumers mouths. To tap into this lost potential, FREEANDIZ was founded: a confectionery company that processes local fruits that would otherwise go to waste and turns them into traditional delicacies.

The company is founded by two Ivorian sisters, Carine and Esther Djé. In 2016, these changemakers noticed that there were large amounts of local fruit and vegetables being thrown away. Inspired by their uncle, the sisters decided to set up a processing unit for the local fruits and FREEANDIZ was born.

To bring their company to the next level, the sisters needed a considerable amount of seed funding as the required start capital was high. Fortunately, in 2018, their business idea won the SIFCA Agriculture and Agro-industry prize* and they joined the Entrafrica foundation. This accomplishment provided them with the funding needed to purchase the equipment to scale up the business. “As the confectionery market in the Ivory Coast is dominated by imports and industrial products, we believe our local brand has a promising future”. Last year, the business sold over 7.000 units and has shown substantial growth since.

Aside from actively fighting food waste, the products in de FREEANDIZ range also contribute to the healthy food trend as they are free of additives, colorants and preservatives. The product range includes fruit pastes, dried fruit, fruit spreads, fruit juices, caramels, candies: pineapple, mango, honey, cashew, chocolate.

Because of the pandemic, it has become difficult to sell their products via traditional retail channels. Therefore the team partnered with delivery platform AHIWAA and made their fruits go digital! “Our unique project is based on the sharing of the same philosophy and the same desires: innovation, quality and originality. We offer you products of great gustative, natural and artisanal quality using only real fruit”

#agriculture #SDG’s #foodwaste #circularity

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