Anyone who is familiar with fairafric also knows about our "luxury problem". Due to the high demand and our current, comparatively small production facility, individual varieties of our chocolate bars are often sold out. Sometimes our warehouse in Germany is completely empty.
At the same time, we all want to not only serve the demand that reaches us, but also create more, because every chocolate bar means additional income in Ghana and further jobs in the processing of raw cocoa.
Why exactly can't we produce larger quantities?
1. Chocolate Production
The machines our partner in Ghana currently uses for production are old, cumbersome and often out of order. The heart of the facility is a production system that was formerly used in Germany to produce "Schogetten"- chocolate. Some parts of it date back to the 1950s. Regarding to this, investements, which our production partner understandably does not make, are urgently needed. Apart from a small amount of chocolate for the local market, the plant only produces chocolate for fairafric. If we were to cease to be customers one day, investments in the plant wouldn't pay off. We understand that.
2. Organic Production:
We alternate with the production in the plant, which means that every time we want to produce, it's not only necessary to empty the chocolate production completely, but also to clean all tanks from inside. The pipes are rinsed with a lot of organic chocolate to avoid mixing with conventional chocolate. During the initial processing of the beans into cocoa mass and cocoa butter, the entire plant is shut down for cleaning. This is why we only produce after planned maintenance work, which can be combined with cleaning. For each production we plan with 2.5 tons of cocoa mass which is used to rinse the pipes and must later be graded to conventional cocoa.
3. Production Partnership
Since we do not own our production facility, we cannot make investment decisions. Our production partner has rightly decided to neglect chocolate production. His priority is the processing of cocoa beans into cocoa mass, because there´s an inexhaustible global market for it. In addition, the Ghanaian government sells the cocoa beans to local processors at a discount. After cocoa processing, our production partner has now concentrated on selling chocolate cream and drinking chocolate powder in small portions. The products are ideal for the local market and from our point of view this is the right investment decision, even if we fall by the wayside. Additional incentive: The government wants to provide every schoolchild with a cocoa drink every day and has decided to purchase it from our current partner.
The solution? To combine our strengths! We will build a modern, scalable and solar-powered organic chocolate factory. Our production partner will continue to take over the first step of processing the cocoa beans into cocoa mass and butter. He has invested a lot in the processing of beans and now owns 4 processing lines. The outcome of this separation of tasks are the following advantages:
1. Product Availability
With a maximum capacity of almost 4 million bars of chocolate per month, we won't have any capacity bottlenecks in the next few years.
Only organic ingredients would be processed in the fairafric factory. This makes time-consuming separation and cleaning process unnecessary and facilitates every aspect of certification.
3. Product Variety
We will not only be able to produce other varieties (e.g. with inclusions such as nuts or dark chocolate with >80% cocoa) but also various chocolate products such as pralines, handmade chocolates, seasonal products (for Christmas or Easter), products with West African dried fruits, etc.
4. Direct Jobs
Until now, we have created jobs only indirectly, but that will change as soon as our factory starts operating. In the first year, 50 direct, qualified jobs will be created and many thousands of people more will benefit indirectly. Solely in the rural region of Suhum, where our factrory will be built, an additional income of more than one million US$ per year will be generated.
The factory will be built in the same region where our organic cocoa is cultivated. This approach enables our cocoa farmers to experience what happens to their beans after harvesting. We also receive requests if a visit of the factory or the cocoa farm is possible. Due to our small teams, this has been very difficult in the past, but it will be a clear focus in the future. Therefore the factory will be built with a visitor concept, which means that all operational processes can be "inspected". This so called vitreous production reflects our lived transparency. Anyone who is interested can combine a visit to the cocoa plantation with a visit to the factory.
6. Chocolatier School
We will open a small school for prospective Ghanaian chocolatiers. As confectionery experts, chocolatiers will not only develop new recipes, they will also be working with chocolate mass. This will enable us to launch an Artisanal product line with the new factory.
Along our way to the fairafric chocolate factory there are two big challenges: Where will the know-how to build a modern chocolate factory come from? And how can we finance it?
The Know-How challenge has been solved since May 2019: From that time on, Ludwig Weinrich became a shareholder of fairafric. The chocolate experts from Herford are hardly known to anyone, even though they produce more than a million bars of chocolate a day in their factory in Germany; especially for well-known chocolate brands. Weinrich was one of the first producers of Fairtrade and organic chocolate in Europe, which means he has a lot of experience in making chocolate more sustainable. We are supported by Weinrich in all technical matters and they´ve also agreed to train Ghanaian engineering talents in their factory in Germany.
The second challenge: the beloved money. Until now, fairafric and our projects have always been financed by you, our customers and fans. Whether it is through Kickstarter, Seedrs (equity capital) or loans and chocolate certificates. The advantage is quite obvious: We don't work out the cost of capital, especially the interest, for financial investors or banks, but for you, our network. Whoever invests in fairafric gets an attractive interest, fairafric has capital for growth and in Ghana further jobs are created, a win-win-win!
What's the next step?
All plans have been made, we have virtually created our shopping lists. The last step is to collect the money for machines and the factory building through a new crowdlending campaign. That's where we need you. If you want to support us financially with the construction of the new production plant, we offer you an attractive yield (4 to 6%) and durations between 7 and 10 years.
Detailed information will follow shortly, the campaign starts at the beginning of October. If you can't wait, you can already acquire a fairafric chocolate ticket.
If you don't want to miss anything, register here. As soon as all details are available, we will send you the exact information directly via e-mail.