- East and West African countries for the most part export raw coffee and cocoa with little or no value addition
- Ghanaian firm FairAfric has built a chocolate making factory to help add value to Ghana’s cocoa
- FairAfric produces 10,000 chocolate bars per hour and is providing opportunities to thousands of local residents
- AfricaLive.net spoke to FairAfric Managing Director Michael Marmon-Halm about building Ghana’s cocoa processing capacity to build prosperous Cocoa-based economy
Our firm got its start after our founder noticed that East African countries largely engaged in exporting raw coffee. He spent time studying the market and trying to understand why adding value locally was so difficult. FairAfric was then born to kick start value addition efforts in Ghana. He began by working with the government before getting into private-sector dealings. After we found ourselves in frequent competitive disadvantages, we decided to establish our chocolate making factory here in Ghana.
In 2019, we achieved a 10,000 bar per-hour processing capacity here in Ghana. It was amazing to get this done right in the middle of the pandemic. Our idea of value addition is not just turning beans into chocolate bars, it’s also about empowering locals by creating opportunities. Our outreach extends to farmers and also local people that help this industry move forward through their talents.
We are proud to have reached the million-bar milestone and can also confirm that our chocolate is 100% organic.
We must protect our yield by embracing sustainable practises. Our appreciation for sustainable farming has led us to encourage farmers to embrace these methods as well. Change can be tough with farmers that have inherited the farms from previous generations that didn’t know much about sustainability though.
We, therefore, pursued an incentive system where farmers get paid 600 dollars per ton if they practise sustainable farming. Farmers that work with the Fairafric co-operative get an additional premium as an incentive.
Since farmers want to enjoy these benefits, it becomes easy to convince them to incorporate sustainable farming methods.
Our long term plan is to impact surrounding communities positively through our successes. We want people here to have access to potable water, education, the internet and healthcare. Its high time that all organisations that benefit in one way or the other from this industry, make contributions towards the greater good.
Michael Marmon-Halm, Managing Director at Fair Africa. Ghana