News Archive

The most recent news can be read here.

Death of our esteemed colleague and africaJUICE Operations Manager Mr. Hugo Steenkamp  August 2014

It is with great sadness that we endured the passing of Mr. Hugo Steenkamp, our operations manager on August 18th, 2014, just days after his 55th birthday, following a major heart attack. At the start of August, Hugo had been admitted to hospital following what appeared to be a heart attack. He seemed to recover from this reasonably well and after some days was released from hospital. However, on Saturday 16th August he had to be rushed back to hospital and was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit. He again showed some signs of stabilisation and improvement and was transferred to a recovery ward on Sunday. Preparations were made to repatriate him to a specialist hospital in South Africa, but unfortunately this came too late. Hugo had only spent 7 months in Ethiopia but he already considered the Tibila farm as his new home and, in these months, hemade a great impact. He is greatly missed by all. A sport tournament was held in his honour in recognition of his great love for sport and competition. Our thoughts and condolences go to his family and friends. He was loved and appreciated by many and his legacy is evident in the many improvements he made in africaJUICE.

New senior managers appointed  July - November 2014

We are delighted to welcome Ms. Gracia Kabanga as Sustainable Development Manager of aJ-TSC. Gracia joined aJ-TSC in July and brings extensive experience from previous managerial positions in West Africa. She has Masters degrees in both Business Engineering and Environmental Science and her most recent experience was running a large rubber plantation and processing facility in Liberia with the country's largest smallholder network.

We are also delighted to welcome Mr. Peter Mwangi who joined aJ-TSC in November as Processing Plant Manager. He brings extensive experience from previous managerial positions in East and West Africa, including with Delmonte and Tetrapak.

International Dignitaries from Holland and Ireland visit africaJUICE  
April-June 2014

The Ambassador of The Kingdom of Netherlands to Ethiopia, Mrs. Lidi Remmelzwaal, along with the Deputy Head of Mission & Head of Development Cooperation, Mr. Martin Koper, visited our farm and processing facility in Tibila, in June. This followed hot on the heels of the visit of the Irish Ambassador to Ethiopia, Mr. Aidan O’Hara, in April who was accompanied on his trip by Mr. Paul Sherlock, Head of Development Cooperation, Irish Aid. We welcome both groups and greatly appreciate the support, challenge and guidance we’ve received from them over the years.

Both groups enjoyed a tour of the farm seeing the extent of the passion fruit operation and sampling the products while the Dutch had the additional benefit of arriving on a day when the factory was processing mango for local market import-substitution. They also spent time discussing the challenges we face with the team and showed great interest in the outgrower programme and our community schemes.

Update on africaJUICE expansion plans agreement signed with IFC and FMO   May 2014

Following the announcement in October 2013 that africaJUICE had signed an agreement with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Dutch Development Bank (FMO) for a major new financial package to support the growth and expansion of africaJUICE’s operation in Ethiopia, we’re happy to announce that the first part of the US$10mln financing was received on May 6th. Ultimately, IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and the private sector window of the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program that is managed by IFC will each invest $3 million. FMO will invest US$4 million. The expansion plan has been supported by the founders of the business as well as the current financiers and investors, including the Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa and the Agri-Vie Fund and we’ve also deepened our relationships with some key buyers. IFC is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector FMO is the Dutch development bank focusing on developing and emerging markets

africaJUICE welcomes Mr. Ulrich Nau to the aJ TSC Board   April 2014

africaJUICE welcomes Mr. Ulrich Nau, Executive Director Sales Africa Dohler, to the aJ TSC Board. Ulrich brings extensive processing, sales and marketing expertise to africaJUICE and his appointment is just one of a number of changes that will see africaJUICE strengthening its team as we expand our operations in Ethiopia.

Brazilian passion fruit expert visits aJ TSC    April 2014

Mr Rafael da Silva, founder of FloraBrazil and one of Brazil’s and hence the world’s leading experts on passion fruit, visited aJ TSC in early April to provide technical support and training for our passion fruit team. Rafael spent a week on the farm working with unit managers, agronomists, supervisors, passion fruit workers and some of our outgrowers. He confirmed the high potential of passion fruit in the Upper Awash and, through a strategic partnership between aJ TSC and FloraBrazil, will continue to work with aJ TSC to ensure that we meet that potential.

New senior manager appointed   January 2014

We are delighted to welcome Mr Hugo Steenkamp as aJ TSC Operations Manager. Hugo brings extensive experience which further strengthens our current team. He has been managing fruit and processing operations in different countries in Africa for over 25 years and will take overall responsibility for all of our farming and processing activities.

africaJUICE expansion agreement signed with IFC and FMO    October 2013

africaJUICE is happy to announce that an agreement has been signed with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Dutch Development Bank (FMO) for a major new financial package to support the growth and expansion of africaJUICE’s operation in Ethiopia. IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and the private sector window of the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program that is managed by IFC will each invest $3 million. FMO will invest US$4 million. The expansion plan will be also supported by the founders of the business as well as the current financiers and investors, including the Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa and the Agri-Vie Fund. IFC is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. Working with private enterprises in more than 100 countries, this year they invested nearly $25 billion. For more information, visit FMO is the Dutch development bank. They finance companies, projects and financial institutions from developing and emerging markets and focus on financial institutions, energy, agribusiness, food & water.

africaJUICE’s new evaporator concentration line erected.   September 2012

The newly manufactured evaporator concentration line, procured from Tropical Food Machinery of Italy (, was erected on site in September and we expect hook-up, testing and commissioning to extend into October with first products available late October 2012. This will greatly expand the product offering and allow concentrated juices/purees of mango and passion fruit but also papaya and guava to be offered.

The World Bank’s political risk insurance arm, MIGA, have profiled africaJUICE in their annual report.   September 2011

World Banks’ PRI arm (MIGA) annual report p. 19 (Washington: September 2011). follow this link for the report. MIGA annual report

Interest in africaJUICE’s private-sector led development model is increasing    August/September 2011

africaJUICE received a number of journalists at our operations while various management members were also interviewed about the approach in the last few months: Radio documentary discussing food shortages and aJ (Addis: September 2011) Radio documentary Webzine interview and article (Cape Town: September 2011) Webzine interview Newspaper interview and article (Dublin: August 2011): Newspaper article

africaJUICE’s private-sector led development model was the subject of discussion at the African Development Bank’s annual strategy meeting.   June 2011

African Development bank publicity video (Lisbon: June 2011) Presentation video

africaJUICE supplying mango puree to local juice bottler   May 2011

africaJUICE has made a further step in its strategy of combining local sales with exports having begun supplying mango puree to a local juice manufacturer and retailer, PIKO Juice Factory PLC, in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia. Our locally produced puree substitutes imports from India improving Ethiopia’s balance of payments, creating local jobs and reducing the food miles associated with the product in addition to being attractive from both a price and a quality perspective.

First mango export   18th January 2011

Commercial mango processing started in December 2010 and africaJUICE Tibila Share Company shipped the first container with mango puree for export to Rotterdam, the Netherlands on 18th January 2011. Our strategic partner judges the quality of the Ethiopian mango puree as excellent and the product is regarded to be a valuable addition to the geographic sourcing of mango puree for the European market. The second shipment of 6 containers of mango puree left Ethiopia during the second week of February 2011.

First passion fruit export   5th November 2010

Early November 2010, the first drums of passion fruit juice were loaded into containers and left our premises in the Upper Awash valley of Ethiopia. Two days later these containers arrived in Djibouti and a further two days later were loaded on the boat for departure that night on the maiden voyage for export of juice products to our customers in Europe. Mr. Harry van Neer, CEO of africaJUICE BV expressed his delight at this historic milestone stating: "this is a major and possibly record breaking achievement for africaJUICE. We started our operations in the Upper Awash valley, which is an undeveloped part of Ethiopia, in the second quarter of 2009 and some 18 months later we have commissioned a large scale fruit processing plant and have exported our first quality products to Europe. There are not many that can claim such an achievement and this is only the first step in our overall plans."

Processing plant operational   16th August 2010

With the finalization of the new processing plant and the technological line fully installed by our partner, Tropical Food Machinery, the production of high quality fruit juice for the European ingredient market can start. Werner Griessel, General Manager of africaJUICE Tibila Share Company: "We're very happy with this achievement and I would like to congratulate all our employees with this great team effort. The commissioning of the processing plant is a major milestone for africaJUICE and for Ethiopia as a country, and will be officially inaugurated on the 13th November 2010."

Second annual PEI Africa Forum 2010   16th June 2010

David O'Halloran, one of the directors of africaJUICE B.V., was invited to join a panel at one of the biggest annual events focusing on African private equity activity. The topic of discussion for the panel was "The entrepreneur's viewpoint: identifying opportunities for African businesses" with africaJUICE invited to provide a different perspective to that of the typical fund or investor. africaJUICE were delighted to have the opportunity to share the success of our model of sustainable development with such an influential group of investors. David described experiences and emphasised that our good relationship with our investors has been important in ensuring that the project has been able to realise significant benefits for the community, the environment and the investors. More info

First planting of outgrower passion fruit   8th May 2010

After intensive preparations in infrastructure and organisation, the first outgrower farmers have started planting passion fruit. To plant the first 13 hectares is a major milestone in the development of a large outgrower organisation that will empower the community. Outgrower project manager Melkamu Negassa is very positive regarding the cooperation between the smallholder farmers and africaJUICE TSC. "These farmers will be a demonstration to others and will encourage many more farmers to consider growing fruit for africaJUICE. Already we have had enquiries for more than 100 hectares from farmers who want to become outgrowers"

MIGA issues investment guarantee   12th March 2010

The World Bank's MIGA arm issued a guarantee to Africa Juice covering its equity investment in Ethiopia and a similar guarantee to the Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa (IDC) covering its non-shareholder loan for the project. This is the first such transaction for MIGA in Ethiopia as their website reports: “MIGA’s support for this investment is consistent with the first pillar of the World Bank Group’s Country Assistance Strategy for Ethiopia for 2008-2011 which focuses on fostering economic growth in order to sustain the emerging economic “take-off”. MIGA’s participation in the project is aligned with key agency priorities, which include supporting investments in sub-Saharan Africa and IDA-eligible (the world’s poorest) countries. The project was underwritten through MIGA’s Small Investment Program and is the first investment in Ethiopia to receive a MIGA guarantee.”

Global Forum for Food and Agriculture, Berlin 2010   15th January 2010

David O’Halloran, one of the directors of africaJUICE B.V., was invited to join the panel and speak about africaJUICE at the Global Forum for Food and Agriculture this year. Topic of discussion for the panel was “Modernisation of the African Farming and Food Economy - Adaptation to the Climate Change” something of particular interest and relevance for africaJUICE as it participates in agri-business across the continent. David brought forward the opinion that underlies the africaJUICE investment policy, that sustainable production and profitability can, ultimately, go hand-in-hand, while simultaneously increasing the social development level of rural communities in Africa. For a video impression of the conference please follow the next link: Summary version or Full version

First outgrowers commit to work with aJ TSC   16th December 2009

The Outgrower Incubator Project team has been working hard to prepare all the necessary arrangements for the first smallholder farmers to start with passion fruit production. Together with our Ethiopian partner organisations we are proud to announce that the first group of outgrowers have committed today to work with aJ TSC. Our overall goal is to have more than 1000 hectares of outgrower farmers supplying fruit to aJ TSC under Fair Trade terms, thereby contributing significantly to the socio-economic development of the local community.

First seedlings of passion fruit planted by aJ TSC   15th September 2009

Our seeds, originally imported from Brazil, had an excellent growth phase from seed to seedling at Florensis PLC, a Dutch propagation specialist in Ethiopia. The seedlings were ready by mid September 2009 to be planted on the Tibila Farm by the aJ TSC fruit plantation team. With the trellis system nearly completed the infrastructure for optimal passion fruit production is now in place and first harvest is expected in the second quarter of 2010.

africaJUICE Tibila Share Company’s first hectares installed with drip irrigation   21st August 2009

aJ TSC’s contractor, Horticamp PLC, has successfully installed and commissioned the first 30ha of drip irrigation at the Tibila Farm, to enable the first passion fruit seedlings to be planted by the aJ TSC team. The high quality equipment will enable precision agricultural management to be implemented which will result in much higher yields than possible in open field horticulture. Also important for aJ TSC is that drip irrigation will increase the efficiency of water usage at the Tibila Farm with up to 70% less water used per hectare compared to the traditional furrow irrigation, protecting this natural resource and contributing to our environmental management objectives.

Handover of the Tibila Farm to the africaJUICE Tibila Share Company   9th April 2009

After finalising the handover process with the Ethiopian government, aJ TSC finally took operational control of the Tibila Farm on the 9th of April 2009. aJ TSC’s General Manager Werner Griessel commented that he was happy to have the “keys to the farm” and to be able start to develop the fruit plantation with his experienced international and Ethiopian team. Together with a motivated group of farm workers the africaJUICE team is ready for the challenge of transforming the farm to become the first large scale Fair Trade tropical juice plantation in sub-Saharan Africa.

The Agri-Vie fund and the sustainable investment company BM CAP ONE Ltd. have completed their investments in africaJUICE BV   24th December 2008

The agri-business investment fund, Agri-Vie, and the sustainable development investment company, BM CAP ONE Ltd completed their investments in africaJUICE BV after having confirmed their plans to invest earlier this quarter. This investment will allow africaJUICE BV to execute its first project in Ethiopia, the Upper Awash project, and in order to deliver this, africaJUICE BV has completed documentation to register and incorporate a new joint venture with the Ethiopian government – the africaJUICE Tibila Share Company. Harry van Neer, CEO of africaJUICE BV, commented: "completing the financing for our first project in Ethiopia is a major milestone for africaJUICE BV allowing us to shift our focus towards the execution and successful delivery of this project".

africaJUICE BV finalises Joint Investment Agreement with the Ethiopian Government   25th November 2008

On Tuesday 25th November, africaJUICE signed a Joint Investment Agreement (JIA) in Addis Ababa with the Privatization & Public Enterprises Supervising Agency (PPESA) of the Ethiopian government. The signing of the JIA paves the way for the creation of the africaJUICE Tibila Share Company, the joint venture between africaJUICE BV and the Ethiopian government, and for the take over of the entire Tibila Farm by africaJUICE. Harry van Neer, CEO of africaJUICE BV, said "We are delighted to achieve this major milestone and we look forward to working with the Ethiopian government to deliver the Upper Awash Project – a project which we believe will deliver significant benefits for Ethiopia and for the community local to the Tibila Farm".