I'm Jamie MacAlister, Founder of African Kingdom Superfoods.
The idea for this venture started when my wife, Jenny, and I were living in Uganda in 2017. We met Nick and Cheryl, who run a fruit farm in Jinja at the source of the Nile, with a vision to plant a billion trees in villages across Sub-Saharan, to help create valuable income for families and to offset the environmental impact of tree depletion. But one of the issues with this kind of project is inadequate demand for the produce. At the same time, our eyes were open to some of the amazing health and healing properties of so many plants and associated fruits that grow so readily in equatorial Africa. So we decided we needed to help create an export market for this produce and to find ways of adding value by drying, processing and packing in Africa to create jobs, and make exports more economically viable.
I was in Uganda to set up a business and technology faculty at a private medical university called Clarke International, and we had regular meetings to discuss how a health plant-based export business could tap into global health needs. When we returned to the UK, I started setting up the import end of the business. But the pandemic caused the business plans in Uganda to stall.
Then I met Don Larson, through the ICCC online network. Don, formerly a senior manager at Hershey Chocolate in the USA had ten years earlier set up Sunshine Nuts Co in Mozambique to grow, process, pack and export high quality cashew nuts. He shared a similar vision, albeit focused on a single plant, and was much further down the road in getting the supply end of the business sorted. So we formed an agreement for us to import and market his super fresh cashews in the UK.
We set up this e-commerce site and launched the product to a range of different independent retailers and hospitality outlets in my home town, Colchester. These include:
Retailers: The Natural Health Shop (Sir Isaac's Walk); Guntons (Crouch St); Choice Foods Afro-Caribbean (Queen St); The Wholefood Store (Manningtree); Poplar Nurseries (Marks Tey)
To consume on-site: Loofers (Culver Street West); The Colchester Officers Club; Pippin at Stoke-by-Nayland Resort; The Black Buoy Pub, Wivenhoe; The Grapes pub and the Silver Oyster pub, Colchester.
Apart from this site, we are also selling online at: https://www.wearefairtrade.com/collections/fruits-nuts
John Parker Wilson, owner of The Natural Health Shop in Colchester, says: "At The Natural Health Shop we are supporting The Sunshine Nut Co. We believe in the ethical principles which give support to local producers in Mozambique. And the cashew nuts are delicious by the way"
I am now joined by two great Co-Directors, David Steinegger and Lindsay Hassall, who support me and hold me to account.
And we have just started distribution through our 3PL warehouse operation at We Prep, Stowmarket in Suffolk.
Please join us on this journey. By buying Sunshine Nut cashews, you will taste a super fresh product, because the supply chain from farm to shop is so relatively short. At the same time, you are helping to create jobs with dignity and support families in one of the poorest and most distressed countries, Mozambique. And the nuts are full of protein and minerals which are good for various aspects of your health.