Research by the WHO estimates inadequate intake of fruits and vegetables contributes to 1.7 million (2.8%) deaths yearly around the world. Globally, low fruit and vegetable consumption contributes to 14% of gastrointestinal cancer deaths, 11% of ischemic heart disease deaths and about 9% of stroke deaths. Low fruit and vegetable consumption is responsible for 1.8% of the total global disease burden. Nigerians, especially young unmarried Nigerian men, according to research, have been found to have a poor intake of fruits and vegetables, eat late suppers, and excessively consume processed carbohydrates are among the dietary habits of Nigerians.
These dietary habits are part of the reasons why, according to Harvard Health, Type 2 diabetes has reached epidemic proportions in many countries around the world, including many low and middle-income countries, with Nigeria having the 3rd highest prevalence of diabetes in SSA. The Global Burden of Disease estimates at least two million Nigerians have died from not eating enough fruits.
The Wellness Industry
The global wellness industry is valued at about $1.5 trillion with annual growth of 5 – 10 percent according to the Global World Institute study. The global wellness market is now three (3) times larger than the global pharmaceutical industry.
On Wellness, Agriculture and Gender.
The wellness industry, although very women-centred does not have as many women in the decision making and goods-producing process as would be expected. When it comes to the agricultural value chain there is a big gap of female food producers on a large scale. According to the USAID from production to processing to disposal, gendered patterns of behaviour condition men’s and women’s jobs and tasks, the distribution of resources and benefits derived from income-generating activities in the chain, and the efficiency and competitiveness of value chains in the global market.
According to the World Bank, Nigeria has an enormous opportunity to promote a vibrant, competitive and technology-propelled agricultural sector, which today employs 70 percent of the population. While this large percentage is commendable, it is quite appalling that there are barely any large-scale female-owned agribusinesses.These gendered patterns is a major reason why there is a scarcity of women producers in the production sector of the wellness industry.
A female-led, innovative, healthy food producer?
We have highlighted the gap in the local and international markets, the social and health benefits of enhanced nutrition as well as the need for female leadership across the value chain. ReelFruit ticks all three boxes and this is a reason why FDHIC invested in ReelFruit.
ReelFruit is on a mission to diversify and positively impact the fruit value chain, by creating sustainable jobs for female farmers and converting Nigeria’s abundant supply of tropical fruits that would otherwise go to waste, into delicious healthy dried fruit snacks. It is owned by Affiong Williams, and her vision is for her business to be Nigeria’s largest end-to-end fruit processing company. ReelFruit’s range of 11 products are sold in over 450 locations in Nigeria, as well as airlines, hotels and schools. In 2020 alone the company sold over 800k packs of snacks.
Williams manages a team of 60+ employees across 3 regional offices in Nigeria. She is a graduate of physiology and psychology from the University of Witwatersrand where she also holds a postgraduate diploma in Business management. She attended the Stanford Graduate School of Business where she took part in the seed transformation program of 2018. She has created employment for 50 rural women trained to grow high quality and export grade mangoes in Kaduna and is continuing to empower more women through agribusiness.
Flying Doctors Healthcare Investment Company is proud to have invested in this company and continues to grow its portfolio in the agribusiness industry; as there is a need to invest in more wellness and health companies particularly those with female founders, senior executives or board members.