AACE Food Processing and Distribution Limited

AACE Food Processing and Distribution Limited, is an indigenous Nigerian company established in November 2009. It processes, packages and distributes nutritious products made from West Africa’s fruits, herbs, vegetables and cereals. The company sources its produce from more than 10,000 smallholder farmers across Nigeria, almost a third of whom are women. It supports farmers through training and access to microfinance, inputs and storage technology.

It also operates a grassroots network of women microentrepreneurs, called ‘Our Mama’, who sell AACE Foods products door-to-door. In 2018, AACE Foods was contracted by Unilever Nigeria to deliver 40 metric tonnes of turmeric, the company also began discussions with Unilever South Africa and Nestlé Nigeria. Recognising the need to ramp up production, AACE Foods proposed to integrate women more fully within its food value chains, bringing an additional 2,000 female farmers and workers onboard. In March 2019, AECF accepted AACE Foods’ proposal and awarded the company a grant of US $375,000.

In the first year, AACE Foods had already benefited 390 female-headed households and 4,301 households in total, with each household earning an extra US $202, totalling US $870,737 in additional smallholder income. AACE Foods continues to recruit, train and employ women; in one district, the company has engaged 2,500 female farmers to produce ginger and turmeric, while across its operations it has ensured women represent at least 30% of its workforce.

AACE Foods has expanded its factory capacity from 7 to 12 metric tons (MT) per day to meet the increased production demands. The company has also steadily increased its exports to the United States, the Netherlands and South Africa.

At the farmer level, AACE Food’s Farmer Business School has trained 1,246 farmers, 71 percent being women, on good agricultural practices, record keeping and inventory management.