A sense of celebration filled the air, mingled with the rich scent of fresh pineapple, as guests arrived at the Promo Fruits Pineapple Processing Factory in Allada, around an hour’s journey outside of Cotonou, Benin. Held on Thursday, April 18, 2024, the long-awaited ceremony, celebrating the expansion of the pineapple juice factory, was a resounding success. The expansion ceremony was attended by over 140 people, with several dignitaries present, including representatives of the Minister of State in charge of Development and Coordination of Government Action, Mr. Rachidi B. Radji, and of the Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Mr. Moreno Dadjo; Mayor of Allada, Mr. Paul Armel Gbedji; and USAID’s Country Representative, Mr. Stephen Haykin.

Distinguished guests of the April 18th Promo Fruits’ Pineapple Juice Factory Launch are pictured here with the CEO of Promo Fruits Benin, Mr. Dieu-Donné Alladjodjo (3rd from left), including USAID’s Country Representative, Mr. Stephen Haykin (center), and the representative of the Minister of State in charge of Development and Coordination of Government, Mr. Rachidi B. Radji (3rd from right). Photo credit: Promo Fruits Benin

Kicking off the event, a video presentation of Promo Fruits’ successful implementation of its Trade Hub project showed footage of the recently completed mango processing factory in N’Dali, in northern Benin. Coupled with the stories of some of the producers impacted by the company’s mission of supporting producers while pursuing success, the footage gave viewers a glimpse of the facility located 425 km north of Allada. The mango puree factory—processing 100 metric tons per day—provides significant market access to numerous producers, as it is the only major facility of its kind in the region, which is a hub for mango production. The financial gains from the reduction in the loss of produce and profit due to spoilage is only one of the many factors giving evidence to the economic transformation for those communities.

The ceremony celebrating the Allada factory expansion was an appropriate time to celebrate all of these milestones and successes, and to recognize the core group that makes it all possible—the Promo Fruits team and the small producers. The time was marked by words from the dignitaries that encouraged attendees to support the efforts of individuals like Mr. Dieu-Donné Alladjodjo (CEO Promo Fruits Benin) and other business owners who are actively changing the economic realities for thousands of Beninese. Mr. Moreno Dadjo told those assembled that the Ministry of Agriculture is grateful for the work carried out by Promo Fruits to “facilitate an outlet for agricultural producers who, for those who don’t know it, are in a sector where perishability is a permanent risk.”

Promo Fruits Benin’s Founder & CEO, Mr. Dieu-Donné Alladjodjo leads the group of distinguished government representatives, including USAID’s Country Representative, Mr. Stephen Haykin, on a tour of the recently expanded pineapple juice factory in Allada. The ceremony held on Thursday, April 18, 2024, allowed over 140 guests to celebrate this advancement in the fruit juice sector and the impact on smallholders in Benin. Photo credit: Promo Fruits Benin

USAID’s Country Representative, Mr. Stephen Haykin, shared, ”Promo Fruits is an eloquent example of collaboration within the Prosper Africa initiative to support trade and investment between the United States and Africa.” The ceremony included award presentations by these dignitaries to three of Promo Fruits’ top producers and culminated with a factory tour.

While the group of dignitaries (with representatives from USAID/Benin, USAID/West Africa (including Adam Silagyi (REGO Deputy Office Director)), and the Trade Hub) enjoyed the tour and the final reception, the other attendees were joined by others from the community. They took part in a celebration where more producers were acknowledged and received prizes. The prizes included large awards that would continue to aid the producers in their activities, like small trucks and motorbikes, and smaller everyday items, like IRA/Promo Fruits-branded ice chests.

The tour of the pineapple juice factory led by Mr. Dieu-Donné Alladjodjo, CEO Promo Fruits Benin, allowed the group of distinguished guests to observe the sterile environment, certified in internationally recognized food and health standards, where the juice is produced and prepared for either direct sales or export. Photo credit: Promo Fruits Benin

The day and the celebration were a fitting way to acknowledge the investments made by all stakeholders, none more than Mr. Dieu-Donné Alladjodjo (CEO of Promo Fruits Benin) and his family, on which the legacy of entrepreneurship continues to be built. The history and dedication that led to Promo Fruits’ impact and influence today is a remarkable story; the future it foreshadows for the nation is even greater. Promo Fruits is a shining example of the Beninese private sector’s potential in advancing and accelerating development through successful public-private partnerships. As this model plays out both here and elsewhere in West Africa, it will transform the lives of countless people for the better.

You can read more about the factory expansion celebration on these news outlets: FraterniteBJ.info | LeRural.bj | LeRural Benin TV