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  HOME PAGE 12/08/2022 21:27 
07.07.2022 09:27 News >> Combining Flavor, Business, Tanzania's Chocolate Woman Drives Local Economy

Combining Flavor, Business, Tanzania's Chocolate Woman Drives Local Economy

On eve of World Chocolate Day, Anadolu Agency profiles Jaki Kweka, Tanzanian entrepreneur, who procures ingredients from local farmers to produce chocolates.

Jaki Kweka, 37, a women entrepreneur from Tanzania, has combined flavor and gourmet to drive the local economy by obtaining cocoa and other ingredients from small-scale farmers in African countries to roll out appealing chocolates.
Cashing in on the consumption of chocolates in sub-Saharan Africa Kweka has emerged as a connoisseur by setting up her brand Chocolate Mamas to localize chocolate -- one of the most popular food types and flavors in the world.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency to mark World Chocolate Day on Thursday, she said that some people had not trusted her when she decided to roll out chocolates and give competition to big global brands.
"We use an array of flavors to improve the quality of our products and meet customers' expectations," said Kweka.
Unlike other firms, Chocolate Mamas sources all its ingredients from Tanzania and a few other African countries, including cocoa beans, milk, flavors, and packaging materials.
According to Kweka, her entrepreneur's love affair with chocolates started more than a decade ago in 2011. It led her to quit her job as an attorney to launch Chocolate Mamas and become a full-time chocolatier.
She teamed up with her friend and started experimenting and testing recipes for nine months.
"We worked hard to bring our first product to the market," she said.
The firm eventually began supplying hotels and supermarkets in Dar es Salaam in 2014, and subsequently expanded by opening stores in Zanzibar and Arusha.
According to Kweka, the firm currently sells an average of 5,000 chocolate bars a month, making $30,000.
Business not without challenges
Chocolate Mamas produces around 15 varieties of chocolate bars ranging from dark chocolate with coffee to white chocolate with cashews.
"We knew from the beginning our idea would succeed because there was not a single firm in Tanzania then that was making chocolate with locally sourced ingredients," Kweka said
Despite her success, Kweka's business has not been without challenges.
"One of the challenges in this country is unstable power supply. We realized that some of our machines cannot run on low voltage. At some point, we had to run all our products using a generator," she said.
According to Kweka, a locally made bar of chocolate costs 9,000 Tanzanian shillings ($3.86), although a few customers who spoke to Anadolu Agency said it is a bit expensive compared with other imported brands, which they can get for as little as $1.50.
Inside the Chocolate Mamas factory in Dar es Salaam, the smell of melted chocolate is thick in the air.
In the kitchen, where the behind-the-scenes magic happens, a couple of young men are busy briskly sorting, roasting, and grinding cocoa beans.
"We sort them to choose the best beans. This process is delicate. We leave no margin of error that can spoil the flavor," she said. -



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