Ethiopia gets first chocolate factory

Haredo LLC chocolate company announced the completion of its around $5 million investment (110 million birr) brand new factory at the Tatek Special Industrial Zone in West Shewa, Oromia of Ethiopia.

Upon receiving delivery of further machinery from Europe, the chocolate factory will immediately commence production, creating as many as 120 jobs directly and 250 indirectly. The factory has an annual capacity of 3,000 tons of chocolate but will begin production at an annual rate of 1,000 tons in the first year.

Chocolate products will be sold in the fast-moving consumer goods market (FMCG), both in Ethiopia and abroad. In the first year alone, approximately 35% is planned for export.

“Our whole strategy is built on the fact that we are the first bean-to-bar chocolate producer from Ethiopia, creating a premium but affordable chocolate based on traditional and distinctive ingredients from the region,” said Manyhalishal Hailegiorgis, General Manager of Haredo.

The vast majority of chocolate producers nowadays buy generic chocolate from a few big chocolate mass manufacturers and then develop and produce their particular product using additives. In sharp contrast, Haredo makes it a point to manufacture their own chocolate mass and utilize only natural ingredients.

Haredo plans to introduce a line of products that utilize locally-grown teff, white honey and Ethiopian coffee beans, products that no other chocolatier has on the market.

Teff has received wide recognition in recent years as a “super-grain” – particularly for its high-iron and mineral content and gluten-free nature. In fact, consumers searching for gluten-free chocolates are a primary target for Haredo.

“We will offer a new product to the Ethiopian and foreign customer with our own distinct national identity. We are confident that it is time for Africa to add value to its raw-materials and to start exporting finished goods,” said Selamawit Samuel, Chairwoman and major shareholder of Sunshine Business Plc, which also owns the Marriott Hotel Addis Ababa.

For the export market, Haredo will market a distinctly Ethiopian packaging and brand for sale to travellers and tourists who are looking for an exceptional gift item. At the same time, chocolate connoisseurs from around the globe will welcome their chocolate treats as an enticing addition to the pantheon of boutique chocolatiers.

Moreover, it is their goal to supply regional hotels and bakeries with quality chocolate, which is currently in limited supply and often of inferior quality.

Selamawit Samuel, Chairwoman and major shareholder of Sunshine Business Plc, which also owns the Marriott Hotel Addis Ababa

The management team is comprised of US, European and Ethiopian partners with expertise in the fields of production, product development, marketing and distribution. With their vast global and professional experience in the chocolate industry, the company is set to rapidly achieve its goal of gaining a significant market presence.

Beside raising employment, Haredo stands to benefit Ethiopia in a number of other ways. With Ethiopia already spending millions of dollars in hard currency on imported chocolate, Haredo’s local production should reduce the country’s import bill and generate foreign reserves through exports, which are expected to grow in the coming years.

According to Dr Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank, “Africa accounts for 75% of cocoa’s global production yet reaps only 2% of the $100 billion annual market for chocolate. Haredo is one step toward the continent-wide reshoring of chocolate production, a process that will allow Africa to retain a greater share of the value of its raw materials.

The company is also targeting local youth for training and employment. “We want to train and gradually employ our whole workforce with youth from Tatek and the surrounding area in the Oromia Regional State,” said Selamawit. “And every year we plan to send young, promising employees abroad to receive training as chocolatiers.”

The company is planning an upcoming grand opening where members of the community will be invited to become the first customers in the nation to taste Haredo chocolate.