MIA seeks partners to expand African produced chocolate

Confectionery business MIA (Made in Africa) has started a £100,000 crowd funding project to expand equipment for its operations to increase chocolate volumes being produced in Madagascar.

The company has launched its fundraising drive through the Seedrs platform, having successful set up its range of African-produced bars at the end of last year.

As the firm explained, with 65% of the world’s cocoa coming from the African continent, but less than 1% of chocolate actually made there, MIA is out to change this sad status quo and is looking for investors to join the journey.

The series is now also available in Australia, Belgium, Germany and The Netherlands, with its crowdfunding campaign being placed towards key new equipment and, implement a revised marketing programme and to launch new and exciting products.

Company co-founder Brett Beach expressed concern at the situation, in which those working within the cocoa farming sector in Ghana and the Ivory Coast are earning significantly less than the UN world definitions of world poverty.

He said:  “Africa and its people cultivate some of the most desired ingredients in the world but they continue to be exploited, and often lack the infrastructure for industry.

“As a result, the 47 countries of Sub-Saharan Africa remain especially poor. Despite representing 12% of the world’s population, the region accounts for less than 2% of world trade and many communities are dependent on aid for survival.

We believe in a world where quality African food products create a meaningful connection between consumers in developed nations and producers in some of the poorest communities on earth.

“Essentially, we’re developing what we see as fair trade 2.0, a business model that goes beyond raw ingredients to bring production benefits to communities in Africa. It’s incredibly challenging but equally rewarding and a chance to help change the course of history in the food industry.”

He added that it was a goal of the company to deliver the finest quality chocolates to be produced at source in Madagascar.

Consequently, the company believed that in taking this approach in local production, the benefit to local communities is more than threefold compared to the export of cocoa.

Beach added: “We want to champion African growers, farmers, producers, entrepreneurs and manufacturers and we want some likeminded investors to join us on this journey in which chocolate is just the beginning.”

The company’s bars are available in 75g packs priced at £4.00, with the entire bean-to-bar chocolate making process – including the roasting, shelling, grinding, tempering and even packaging – takes place under one roof in Madagascar, aiming to deliver the freshest ingredients and the unique flavours of the terroir.

The MIA brand is partnered with Proudly Made in Africa (PMIA) to ensure that products aren’t just made on the continent but are produced with as many locally sourced ingredients and materials as possible.

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