Fruits of the Nile (FON) buy Fairtrade Organic sun dried pineapple and banana from 5 farmers groups in Southern and Central Uganda who together form the Fruits of the Nile Growers Association. FONA has about 700 members, about a third of whom are pineapple farmers and two thirds of whom are banana farmers. About a tenth of the farmers also run small businesses solar drying their fresh fruits. The farmers group sell their solar dried fruits to Fruits of the Nile who grade and pack all fruit ready for export at their purpose built factory in Njeru, near Jinja Uganda.
FON have been popularising solar drying amongst farmers, buying their produce and exporting since 1992. FON believe that solar drying is an affordable way for farmers to preserve their fruits, and add value to them. In addition, solar drying has minimal environmental impact using renewable energy, retaining waste at the point where it is grown and minimising transport costs by transporting fruit only when it has been dried - and in bulk. The fruits are 100% natural dried fruits, produced without any added preservatives or added sugars.
FON produce 2 types of banana: ndizi and bogoya. The ndizi are the sweet small bananas that are also known as "ladies fingers". In the UK, TW market them as "chewy banana chips." The bogoya variety are a larger banana with a deep, almost toffee like flavour once dried.
FON pineapple is made from Smooth Cayenne Pineapple, and has a characteristic zingy sweet flavour. In addition to pineapple and banana, FON also produce sun dried papaya, cape gooseberries and strawberries. The latter 2 are being developed as part of the UK Department for International Development FRICH programme.