Fairafric – The story of a business tapping into Ghana’s US$100bn cocoa sector
Social entrepreneurship has become a fascinating and growing construct over the years. Individuals, through observation and research, are recognizing social problems and achieving a social change by deploying entrepreneurial values, processes, and operations.
Hendrik Remiers is one of such individuals. Hendrik Remiers worked for IBM selling software in Ireland after he studied Business Administration. Climbing up the ladder to management, he discovered that he had so much empathy to take up such a leading role which would typically require a lack of concern for others. This will lead to his resignation and the search for a socially entrepreneurial idea. Hence the birth of Fairafric.
About Fairafric, Ghana – The Ghanaian business that originated from Germany
Started in 2014, Munich based Fairafric GmbH, works to spread organic chocolate bliss, made in Africa, to other parts of the world. While proactively improving the livelihoods of the indigenous farmers, the production workforce, and the rural communities where it has a presence.
Fairafric, is committed to producing chocolate products that are organic and in an ethical environmental space.
The company through its subsidiary, Fairafric Ghana limited, has produced a variety of organic chocolate such as the organic vegan mix, organic chocolate with milk and hazelnut, organic chocolate and cocoa nibs, and organic dark chocolate with tigernut & almond.
With 3,106 Kickstarter backers, 265 crowd owners, and other partners, Fairafric has come a very long way in its chocolate manufacturing journey and has gained grounds in Europe particularly in Germany. With the boost in demand and the support from its partners, Fairafric Ghana Limited, currently producing 1,500 chocolate bars per day (equivalent to 45,000 bars per month) is expected to leap to 4 million bars per month. The company remains focused on growing its presence both locally and in key international markets.
Seven years ago, the journey to becoming Ghana’s first chocolate manufacturing company took roots from the soil of Germany. Hendrik Remiers, a social entrepreneur during one of his travel with just a backpack and a tent in the culturally rich sub-region of East Africa, met with a group of farmers in Uganda that brewed coffee from basic rudimentary equipment. The farmers were focused on exporting their raw materials (coffee beans) rather than focusing on value addition to attract higher market value. With his entrepreneurial instinct, Hendrik soon realized he could make an enormous difference if such raw materials could be turned into finished products and exported.
Being a chocolate enthusiast, he channeled the knowledge gained from the coffee farmers into the processing of cocoa beans for chocolate. He wasn’t just going to set up another fairtrade certified brand where the most influence wouldn’t be delivered amongst the workers along the entire process of the value chain. Instead, he sought to bring about real change and create jobs that will improve the income standing of several Africans both directly and indirectly.
Knowledge is power
To jumpstart his idea, Hendrik sought to seek knowledge about cocoa farming from Sierra Leone, however, the war-torn nation proved a difficult ground to grow his idea. Hendrik returned home but still had the unquenchable drive of determination and passion. This will be the force that brings him back to the continent, this time, with Ghanaian contact. Together with his Ghanaian contact, his idea slowly materialized with a meeting with the Cocoa Processing Company (CPC) that will eventually become the company’s production partner since CPC had the machinery in place to transform the raw cocoa bean to chocolate.
In 2016, Fairafric gained a foothold and business commenced. Through a crowdfunding platform known as Kickstarter that backed the project with 29,516€, the company produced its first batch of chocolate. 5,000 bars of the company’s chocolate were produced with a distinct and unique-flavoured taste that stirred up waves abroad particularly in Germany.
In 2019, Ludwig Weinrich KG, a family-run chocolate manufacturer from Herford, Germany took a stake in the company to better manage the production process and meet the increase in demand for Fairafric’s organic chocolate.
Fairafric would later receive a loan of US$2.2 million from the German development finance institution, DEG, as part of the AfricaConnect program to establish its chocolate production plant in the country.
With an insatiable appetite to provide the world with a mouth-watering organic chocolate product, and bring about positive change in Africa, Fairafric aims at producing world-class chocolate while increasing Africa’s share of the entire value chain in the chocolate manufacturing industry.
The unbeatable difference
What makes Fairafric’s chocolate incomparable to the others lies in its unique, authentic, and profound organic flavours and tastes. With a 100% non-GMO (Genetically modified Organism), unique organic recipes, and sourced cocoa bean from Ghana, Fairafric’s chocolate products remain a profound force to be reckoned with.
Moreover, though 70% of the world’s cocoa harvest comes from West Africa, the countries in the cocoa-producing regions receive a fraction of the generated sales. Fairafric tends to change and is changing that narrative. Fairafric Ghana Ltd. is creating more than 50 jobs and is obtaining the cocoa beans from thousands of small farmers, enabling them to earn higher incomes for themselves and their families.
Why Fairafric exists
Fairafric exists based on four main strands. “Transparency,” “Fair,” “Delicious” and “Made in Africa.”
Transparency: “With Fairafric you know where your organic cocoa beans come from.” 1,600 well-trained farmers grow the best beans possible for you.
Fair: Fairafric couldn’t be any fairer. We increase income in Ghana by a factor of 5 compared to the old way of doing business.
Delicious: Want terrific chocolate? Pick world-renown Ghanaian organic beans, add fair & organic ingredients, and process to perfection.
Made in Africa: The whole value creation is performed in Ghana. This increases local jobs, income, and access to education and health care.
Before the establishment of the solar-powered factory in Suhum, Fairafric’s chocolate supply had a shortfall relative to demand. But thanks to its ‘Kickstarters’ and investment partners, the establishment of the Suhum factory will have a maximum production capacity of almost 4 million chocolate bars per month with a wide range of product lines. Various chocolate products such as pralines, handmade chocolates, seasonal products (for Christmas or Easter), products with West African dried fruits, etc are in production.
Fairafric offers over 50 direct job opportunities in the manufacturing plant with over a thousand people involved indirectly in the value chain.
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Source : African Media Agency (AMA)