Sierra Leon fruit beverage maker Capitol Foods receives US$1m backing for expansion

SIERRA LEON – Leading beverage manufacturer in Sierra Leon, Capitol Foods Ltd has received US$1 million debt financing from two Dutch impact investors, Cordaid Investment Management and Triodos-Hivos Fund.

The funding according to Triodos Investment is aimed to finance Capitol’s expansion of fruit processing capacity to meet the growing demand, by facilitating the purchase and installation of 3-tonnes-per-hour fruit processing plant.

The debt facility will also enable the company to provide greater market access for thousands of fruit farmers in Sierra Leone.

“This loan created an immediate relief to both our company’s input supply chain and to thousands of rural farmers around Sierra Leone.”

Hamza Hashim – CEO of Capitol Foods

Capitol Foods produces bottled water and fruit juices under the famous brand name Sierra, using locally grown fruits.

To this end the loan will help the company source more than 5,000 tons of fruit annually, impacting around 10,000 farmers.

“This loan created an immediate relief to both our company’s input supply chain and to thousands of rural farmers around Sierra Leone. Farmers whose access to the market was limited due to movement restrictions.

“The loan will also support our working capital needs as global supply chains and logistics take a hit due to Covid-19 effect,” said Hamza Hashim, CEO of Capitol Foods.

As Sierra Leone is considered a high-risk market, many financial institutions shy away from investing here, which impedes the further development of many sectors, especially agriculture and agri-processing.

“CIM and Triodos combined knowledge and competencies to structure this deal that will meet the needs and growth plan of Capitol Foods.

“Leveraging on CIM’s presence in Sierra Leone, we carried on with the due diligence of the investment during the pandemic. This prevented further delays of the expansion project,” says Lorisa Canillas, Senior Investment Manager at CIM.

“We are proud to have been part of Capitol’s journey since 2016 when we provided a first trade finance facility with Hivos-Triodos Fund. And this journey continues with a debt facility, in partnership with Cordaid,” says Joke van der Ven, Senior Investment Manager at Triodos Investment Management.

Capitol Foods’ parent company Capitol Group has been instrumental in making the cacao sector in Sierra Leone more sustainable in the past decade and is now listed as one of the top 3 cocoa exporters in the country.

Building on their close cooperation and connection with small-scale farmers they have expanded their business activities with the production, processing, and marketing of fruit juice.

This means a steady market for thousands of farmers, more employment and showcases how locally produced and high-quality fruit instil a feeling of pride and support the local economy.

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