Noureddine Saïdi is the founder and manager of Bio Origin Fruits, a company that processes, packages, and exports organic dates from the town of Hazoua, Tozeur.
Mr. Saïdi, originally from the southern region of Kebili, has strong expertise in both agriculture and production management. He earned his bachelor’s degree in agronomy from the Advanced Institute of Agriculture of Mograne in Zaghouan and completed a master’s in geomatics at the National School of Engineering in Tunis. While completing his master’s, he also worked at a Kairouan-based Italian company that specializes in aromatic herbs. After this, he worked as a quality manager for six years at Beni Ghrib, a JOBS partner firm in Hazoua that processes and packages dates for export.
Mr. Saïdi’s experience at Beni Ghrib inspired him to launch his own date business. Originally, he planned to set up this company in Kebili, but due to the high costs and administrative demands, he settled on Hazoua. While launching this business, Mr. Saïdi also helped establish an agricultural development group (GDA) in the town. This GDA is now Bio Origin Fruit’s main date supplier.
Bio Origin Fruits officially opened in late 2019 with just 15 employees, mostly local women. Under Mr. Saïdi’s management, the company quickly gained interest from high-value markets like Qatar, the United Kingdom, Portugal, France, Germany, and Finland. To finalize contracts with clients in these markets, however, it needed to implement international food-safety and fair-trade standards.
The COVID-19 pandemic caused major setbacks soon after Bio Origin Fruits’ opening, unfortunately. Due to supply chain disruptions, national health restrictions, and decreased demand, Bio Origin Fruits had to delay its production launch to late 2020. When it did open its production line, it first focused on processing dates for local companies rather than building exports. As a result, the company generated 30% less revenue than it had projected for 2020, making it difficult to make investments it needed to access target markets.
To help Bio Origin Fruits recover from these setbacks and generate export revenue, JOBS provided it with tailored technical assistance and grant support. The technical assistance helped Bio Origin Fruits implement a fair-trade certification requested by many European buyers, while the grant funded key production equipment, such as a date-washing machine, a cold-storage room, an electrical dryer, and a date-paste machine.
With this support, Bio Origin Fruits broke into new foreign markets, such as Qatar, Turkey, Portugal, Germany, and France; increased sales by 30%; and created 32 jobs, mainly for women. To help generate this sales increase, JOBS also helped Bio Origin Fruits secure a contract to produce date powder for another JOBS’ partner, date exporter Jetkis Agro. This partnership will lead to the creation of five new jobs for women.
“JOBS’ support has helped us break into new markets and increase production by 35%. We are now working to secure more orders and establish strong bonds with our clients.”
Founder – Bio Origin Fruits