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An Affinity for Africa

on January 03, 2023

Why Africa?

If you’re a fan of our dried fruit, then you probably know we prioritize sourcing our products from Africa. Or maybe you just learned that. In either case, you’re likely wondering why. Why does Mavuno Harvest prioritize sourcing from Africa?

Our affinity for Africa began in 2003 when our founder, Phil, served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Kenya. For over two years, he lived and worked in a rural village called Miti Mingi. He focused on public health & water/sanitation issues within the local community.

Left-brained, Phil naturally kept returning to an overwhelming deficiency in the small village: farmer income. He wondered why farmers were predominantly impoverished when there was ample arable land and copious skilled farmers.

Phil, found of Mavuno harvest, working with his Kenyan coworkers during his Peace Corps service
Picture: Phil working with his Kenyan counterparts during his Peace Corps Service

Phil returned to the U.S. in 2005 but he couldn't forget what he saw in Kenya. Like many visitors before and after, Africa made an indelible impression on his heart and soul, refusing to leave.

Six years and a few fits and starts later, Phil took the entrepreneurial plunge. He moved back to Kenya and started Mavuno Harvest. His goal was to increase small-scale farmers’ incomes. Traditionally, others have tried to improve farmers’ economic situation through charity and handouts. Or, they came in with heavy-handed outside ideals. Phil saw a different path. He sought to connect smallholder farmers in Kenya to global markets through the vehicle of a U.S.-based brand.

Phil, founder of Mavuno Harvest, back in Africa

Picture: Phil, after starting Mavuno Harvest, on one of his many trips in Africa

After over a decade of countless long flights back and forth all over Africa, we’re proud to say we have bought thousands of tons of fruit and nuts from smallholder farmers in Africa. We learned our method was effective. On their own accord, farmers increased their incomes.

Africa remains a cornerstone of our brand, but we don’t source 100% of our products from there anymore. We thought, "why limit ourselves and our impact to just one corner of the world?"

We will always favor working in Africa. But, as the future unfolds, we are excited by the possibilities of working with other communities that have inadequate market connections but amazing culture and delicious foods to share with the world. This is how we intend to continue our mission to serve our customers and suppliers.

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