MIA ethical chocolate confirms pledge of ensuring production entirely in Madagascar

Ethical chocolate business MIA (Made In Africa)’s latest impact report has shown that it has ensured delivery of a pledge promising its entire production volume was made at source in 2020, despite challenges of operating amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis, reports Neill Barston.

The company confirmed that its operations created four times more revenue than the value of raw cocoa, while supporting 18 full-time jobs and sustainable agriculture that preserved more than 4,900 trees in Madagascar, from which its ranges are manufactured.

Notably, MIA activities also addressed eight United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and earned the brand a place in the top three of Ethical Consumer’s review of 47 chocolate brands.

Confectionery Production recently spoke exclusively to co-founder Brett Beach on the company’s progress, as the business seeks to continue its expansion with new ranges, which it hopes to ultimately expand into the wider food market.

He said: “Excluded from the chocolate market for much of recent history, Africa grows 70% of the world’s cocoa but does not even benefit from 1% of value-added chocolate production. Fair trade agriculture is an important element of development – MIA pays 30% over fair trade cocoa prices – but all the wealthy nations in the world are proof that farming alone will not lift a nation out of poverty.

“Africa needs to make products to enjoy the general prosperity that Western nations have built since the Industrial Revolution.” “In the world of chocolate confectionery, MIA is proving that it is possible to support farmers and skilled jobs in Africa while delivering award-winning chocolates to consumers around the world,” adds Beach. “It’s a win-win for Africa and the market.” In addition to the commitment to make every product start to finish in Africa, MIA sets aside 1% of sales to support development projects on the continent under its 1 for Change programme.

“The founding members believed that we had to engrave strong values into the company from the start, instead of reverse engineering, so that positive impact would be part of brand genetics. 1 for Change gives us the opportunity to support important development initiatives beyond our supply chain in Africa so we can create opportunities for communities eager to work for a better future.”

Furthermore, the business said it plans to support adult literacy with its 1 for Change programme and will increase its added value to five times cocoa export by sourcing additional materials locally in Madagascar. In addition, the company is also set to expand its confectionery range within the coming months.

Co-founder Sarah Lescrauwaet added: “Last year, the 1 for Change created a Girls’ Education Fund to promote equality for women, helped combat COVID-19, provided famine relief and supported reforestation in a national park that is home to endemic lemurs and an important resource for local communities. “MIA is still a small player, but we’re excited to see the possibilities to increase impact in Africa as sales grow.” The full report is available to read here.

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