TEN Member Jamie MacAlister founded African Kingdom (aka TAKTIC Ltd) in 2022. The business is the UK importer & distributor of retail packed natural health foods from Sub-Saharan Africa with a vision to support African kingdom businesses.
The initial product is a range of high quality cashews nuts in four flavours and two sizes from the Sunshine Nut Co in Mozambique, which is committed to helping to develop the local economy by providing jobs and supporting families. In the UK, you can support the venture by buying the cashews directly at www.africankingdom.co.uk
Jamie MacAlister writes:
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 an e-commerce site for consumers to buy direct and launched the product to a range of different independent retailers and hospitality outlets in the area around 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); The Deli (Church St, Colchester)
To consume on-site: Loofers (Culver Street West); The Colchester Officers Club; The Black Buoy Pub, Wivenhoe; The Grapes, Colchester; The Silver Oyster, Colchester; The King’s Head, Pebmarsh; The Dog Inn, Halstead; The White Hart, Halstead
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.
The main reasons for buying Sunshine Nut cashews:
- they are healthy: protein, minerals for brain health and immunity, good fats, anti-bacterial
- they are tasty: great flavours, super-fresh because the journey from plant to mouth is so much shorter than for other cashews as they are processed and retail packed near the farms in Africa
- they are ethical: creating jobs & planting trees in Mozambique, one of the poorest and most troubled countries in Africa.
In the next few months, TAKTIC plans to source other natural health products with a similar profile from Kenya and Uganda.