By Sustainability Hub Reporter Emanuel Manko
Ithink it’s fair to say that chocolate, together with other cocoa made products, exist thanks to Africa. Almost 70 percent of the world’s cocoa is indeed produced by West African states, such as Ivory Coast, Ghana and Cameroon. However, the 110 billion dollar chocolate industry is dominated by western companies.
You may wonder why the situation is like that. The answer is simple: almost all of the cocoa that is produced in the African continent is exported abroad as raw material for the production of chocolate; and only a small percentage is used by few local African chocolatiers. On top of that, these chocolatiers face one major challenge: the high costs of import of key ingredients such as milk powder and sugar, needed to make chocolate.
Now, one company in Tanzania is trying to change the status quo by playing its own game: producing the country’s first and only local chocolate. Yes! 100 percent African-made, meaning everything in the production chain is locally sourced.
In 2012, Jaki Kweka, a former lawyer launched Chocolate Mamas. This company doesn’t just make organic chocolate, it produces it in a sustainable way. Interviewed by Lionesses of Africa, an online community of women entrepreneurs Jaki Kweka said "We looked at the challenge of getting a constant, reliable supply of high quality chocolate in the country. We realised that this was a gap in the market that could be filled and our entrepreneurial journey started there - we decided to start making our own chocolate."
So, what makes Chocolate Mamas organic?
Well, imagine eating chocolate which is free of mixed vegetable oil, emulsifiers, preservatives, lecithin and gluten. With Chocolate Mamas' products you would be doing just that. According to the company’s website, cacao beans are stored, roasted and winnowed on site together with other ingredients, such as sugar and cocoa butter being produced in-house or sourced locally. Nothing is imported and no chemical ingredients are added which reduces any health concerns.
What about environment sustainability?
Had you ever asked yourself what material is used to wrap your chocolate bars? If you happen to taste Chocolate Mamas, it is worth to know that its packaging paper is made out of maize husks, a locally available material which is generally considered as waste. This makes the chocolate mamas production also environmental friendly.
Now, this is the best part: it looks like Chocolate Mamas is also backing up Goal 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Indeed, Chocolate Mama's packagings is designed and crafted by a local NGO giving people with disabilities an employment opportunity, hence improving their lives.