Meet the Panelist: Fatma Riyami, NatureRipe Kilimanjaro

By September 16, 2013News


This is the 200-acre mango orchard in Tanzania’s coastal Mkuranga District where most of Fatma Riyami‘s NatureRipe Kilimanjaro mangoes are grown. It started as a family getaway spot where she and her husband would go with their four kids.

The mangoes started as a family hobby; Fatma’s background is in finance. Then in 2000 the family had so many mangoes moving through their kitchen, they exported 1 – 2 tons per week to Dubai!


Fatma at the NatureRipe nursery.

They’ve gone from being the first Tanzanian exporter of mangoes to manufacturing and distributing a product range including processed mango products (pickle, sauces), roasted nuts, and packaged nut products.

Family-owned NatureRipe Kilimanjaro maintains a nursery of over 50,000 mango seedlings and other plants for sale. The company is in growth mode, with annual turnover expected to double from 2011 – 2013

Through the Trestle Group’s Empowering Women Entrepreneurs Partnership Program, a Credit Suisse executive team addressed Fatma’s primary challenges including: review of business plan, cash flow analysis and review of product line profitability, as well as providing valuable connections to new markets and distributors. For Fatma Riyami’s NatureRipe Tanzania, the Credit Suisse analysts recommended the company’s focus should be on expanding the exportation of the cashew product line, not the original mango products. The team also connected Fatma with potential international distributors, with whom she is in ongoing dialogue.

At the conclusion of the program Fatma said, “Through this program, I’ve realized I had priced my products for only 10% of the potential market. I didn’t realize I was pricing myself out of a large and growing middle class local market.”

We look forward to introducing you to Fatma at our September 18 event in Zurich. Welcome to Switzerland, Fatma!