09 Aug ENHANCING THE ENVIRONMENT – ANTON ROBERTS & PETAL JOSEPH
Husband and wife team Anton Roberts and Petal Joseph are destined to make a difference in not only demonstrating the importance of the environment but also the benefits of eating and living healthy! Trading as AP Fresh Cuts with the tagline “Eat Clean Live Green”, the power couple continues to build a strong and sustainable legacy on the sister isle.
“I have always been a farmer and was born into farming; my father, grandfather and uncles are farmers who all plant different crops.” Anton’s love for farming started from age five when his father took him to the garden on weekends and holidays.
Both Petal and Anton have always liked farming and also possess a unique love for the land..”I have a green thumb so anything I plant would grow especially yellow yam” mused Anton. This very ambitious couple is strongly supported by their family who also plant crops including but not limited to dasheen, tannia, sweet potatoes which are all six-month crops. According to Anton “my father always told me that as a farmer you’d always have food to feed your family.”
The Couple’s Story
Anton felt it important to share the story behind his union with Petal “I met Petal 15 years ago but we disconnected from each other and reconnected again 4 to 5 years ago; we started a mango business and sold packaged mango which worked out well as we both have a neutral understanding about farming and the environment” said Anton.
Their union resulted in the formation of “AP Fresh Cuts.” The business broadened to include the sale of coconut water. “The inclusion of coconut water was strategic and it was aimed at getting people familiar with our brand and increase brand awareness which was important.”
Though there was some loss-making, the couple felt they’d achieved their objective as the investment created opportunities for a niche market. Their coconut water is currently sold at selected locations throughout Tobago.
The couple’s main focus is for AP Fresh Cuts to be one of the leading businesses on the island whilst diversifying the variety of their crops including ginger, yam, dasheen, cassava, dasheen bush, pumpkin and sweet potatoes.
They believe “that more education in increasing public awareness on the benefits of yellow yam in particular.” Ginger is one of the popular product and is supplied to anyone interested in purchasing whilst market vendors are welcomed place orders for yam. Grocers and the general public also benefit from their produce.
The couple boasts of equal sharing of tasks in the business. As Anton puts it “Petal is the brain and does all the paper work whilst I do the heavy lifting; we work as an excellent team as we have each other to lean on.”
The LiveWIRE Experience
For the power couple the experience gained from the Shell LiveWIRE was life-changing!
“The learnings were able to take their business to the next level; we’re better able to understand our market, branding and awareness and the importance of exporting.”
They’re also now able to strengthen their online presence.
With the mango season apace, the couple’s focus is capitalizing on their packaged mango product and is aiming to create a niche market by retailing the product out of season. As they put it “this year we’d like to get our mango product and is currently working on the design for the label; our family would also be working together as a larger team.” Construction of a storage space for the mangoes is also work in progress.
ABOUT SHELL LIVEWIRE
Shell LiveWIRE is Shell’s global flagship social investment Enterprise Development programme, with a vision to strengthen local economies by promoting entrepreneurship, innovation and meaningful employment. Since inception in Scotland in 1982, the programme is facilitated in over 15 countries and supports thousands of entrepreneurs willing to transition their bright ideas into sustainable businesses.