2013 An idea is born
Travelling with a tent and backpack, our founder Hendrik travels East Africa and meets farmers in Uganda, who produce their own coffee just off the farm with just a pan to roast the beans and manual grinding. Delighted by the wonderful coffee making experience, Hendrik can't stop wondering what an enormous difference it would make to produce actual goods in Africa rather as opposed to just exporting raw materials.
Chocolate enthusiast Hendrik soon realizes, that this also applies for cocoa. Chatting with farmers on the ground, the traveler learns that life is brutal for most, some even so poor they have to decide which of their kids will be sent to school since they can't pay school fees for everyone. While initiatives like Fairtrade, UTZ or Rainforest Alliance give the impression of moving millions of farmers out of poverty the picture on the ground looks different. A couple of percent more income on almost nothing is still almost nothing.
Determined to bring about real change and create jobs that increase Africans income manifold, Hendrik sets out to learn more about the business of cocoa farming and chocolate making and heads to Sierra Leone, a country much closer to the chocolate consuming nations of Europe.
2015 West Africa II - Ghana
After a lot of back and forth communication, Hendrik finally gets to meet the cocoa processing company (CPC) which will eventually become fairafric's production partner. It doesn't take long to come to an agreement for the yet to be founded Made in Africa chocolate company. CPC has the machinery in place to produce chocolate, Hendrik got the recipe for fairafric and the ambition to bring Made in Ghana chocolate to the world.
Another serious of fateful meetings took place after which the cooperative Kuapa Kokoo and fairafric partnered to work together to improve the life of the cooperative's members. Less than a year later, Hendrik was campaigning to win over more farmers for a membership.
2017 fairafric goes organic and colourful
After the first chocolate bars from Ghana arrived in Germany we knew: We want more! We not only wanted more chocolate, we also wanted different flavors and more stores, that sell our product. But we also wanted not only a fair product, but a fair and organic product. Due to the huge success of our first Kickstarter-campaign and the tremendous support of our backers, we decided to start another crowdfunding campaign. Our goal: Seven different flavors of fair, organic chocolate completely made in Africa. This dream came true in late 2017. The chocolate was produced in cooperation with our new partners, the cooperative Yayra Glover and the production partner Niche Cocoa. In addition to the successful organic certification, we became an officially recognized supplier of the Weltladen Dachverband, Germany’s most important fair trade organisation. What a year!
2019 : Two new allies and one groundbreaking plan
At the beginning of the year fairafric joins forces with two new partners: Weinrich Schokolade - a pioneer in the production of organic chocolate - and claro fair trade AG - the largest Swiss importer of 100% fair trade products in the food sector. We realized that we have finally outgrown our early stages. We plan to build the first solar-powered chocolate factory in Suhum, a rural region of Ghana. This will significantly increase our capacities and, in addition to a large number of qualified jobs, will bring more than one million US dollars in income to the region. The increasing demand leads to a major expansion of our core team in Germany. Subsequently, we can introduce our chocolate in the food retail sector and in zero waste shops. We also offer our crowd the first fairafric bond, which will help us to raise further funds for the construction of the factory. Thanks to your help, our funding target has been almost completely achieved. Wow! But there are also great news beyond the operational business area: Our independent film "Decolonize Chocolate" celebrates its premiere and is shown in various cinemas throughout Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
2014 West Africa
Once again just armed with a bagpack Hendrik arrives in Sierra Leone without much of a plan. The war ridden country proves to be one of the hardest places on earth to do business. Meeting after meeting with farmers and organizations provide valuable insights into the challenges faced by local farmers.
Eventually, Hendrik needs to realize that Sierra Leone is not quite the place to set up a chocolate start-up. Just a couple of days before the first news of the Ebola outbreak are reported by the Western Media, Hendrik returns back home. In addition to all the the good memories he has about incredibly friendly people, he also brings back a contact of someone in Ghana who seems to be able to help make his idea work...
2016 Chocolate Made in Ghana
In March 2016 things got really serious. fairafric was looking for customers to pre-order chocolate on the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter. Not knowing whether fairafric would be able to pull this off let alone produce a chocolate worth waiting months for, people joined our leap of faith and backed our project with 29,516€!
With money and motivation it just took four months to have the first bars produced in August. Our backers received some 5,000 bars in October. Since then we have done countless calls and tastings in order to convince more and more retailers to sell fairafric in their shops. Also for our consumers we have and we have introduced different special packages and attractive deals in our Online Shop.
2018 And thus it was that... fairafric was shown on TV
Due to the strong demand fairafric starts another production in Ghana in January. This time a special guest joined us: A television crew from SPIEGEL TV, which examines our project carefully. The television program "Fair Easter" is (logically) broadcasted on Easter 2018 and turnes out to be a huge success. During this time, we often work into the night to finish all the orders. However, we could not be happier! We receive incredibly positive feedback and support in the show's aftermath. And things continue to be exciting: We get to present fairafric at many fairs all over Germany, the team is growing, and Hendrik becomes a father. The demand is increasing over the course of the year and we are having struggles to keep up with the production. However, just in time for christmas, we received another container full of chocolate Made in Ghana!
2020: A year full of challenges - and a strong community
Our planned construction of the factory in Ghana is getting more and more concrete and another successful bond issue and Kickstarter campaign laid the foundations. In order to manage the affairs around the factory on site more efficiently, a subsidiary company, fairafric Ghana Limited, is founded in Ghana. This means that the new factory will be completely run by our Ghanaian colleagues. Besides new varieties of our chocolate, we are planning to open the first chocolate school in Ghana. In spring, the new Corona virus causes many of our partners to partially or completely close their shops. We participate in the campaign #fairsorgung of the "Weltläden" Association to show solidarity in these difficult times. This time is also very tough and uncertain for us. But a new broadcast of the ZDF-report "Fairer Naschen" (fair snacking) at Easter and an overwhelming number of orders later, we know that we have a very special community. A motivation boost which confirms that we are on the right track!