On 12th December the CEO of CARL group was awarded by the Indemamfura family as the business success story of 2015! Because of this honour, we decided we wanted to share with you all the story of how we started.
I, Regis grew up eating sweet potatoes daily prepared by my mother - much to my dislike. With no regards for my complaint, my strict mother kept going on that meal, three times a day without tasting any alternative dish. It pushed me to wonder if there is another way in which sweet potatoes can be processed to create something else that we could enjoy - eaten by everyone and enjoyed, instead of being considered food for the animals and the poor.
When I turned 12, I lost a best friend to malnutrition. From that point onwards, my dream was reinforced. I envisioned a large food-processing industry, basing its raw materials from what we grow locally, to help children who die from malnutrition. I studied Agribusiness and Agricultural Economics and took food science courses at university. In my research dissertation I conducted a study about orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, and in that research I conducted several interviews to understand the problems farmers of sweet potatoes face.
The results showed me that many had started to grow a new species of sweet potato called Orange-fleshed Sweet Potato (OFSP), but they struggling to create a market for their products because it’s considered a rural crop and food for animals. From this, I undertook more extensive research into the OFSP and the health benefits that may stem from eating them.
I found that orange-fleshed sweet potatoes are a great source of energy and beta-carotene, which is converted into Vitamin A in the body - something that would help fight against Vitamin A deficiency in pregnant women and children, and save lives.
For that reason, we aimed to change the image of sweet potatoes (which is currently considered of little value within our community) by transforming it into a variety of products that all different classes of people can enjoy.
Today - we are winning awards for our business success! All it takes is an idea, and the belief in it to see it through.