Survey shows Ugandan chocolate producers are strong competitors
“Our chocolate is now known to be of better quality as compared to the supermarket quality available in the local market. With improved manufacturing, we have enhanced chocolate storage, particularly our freezing technique that has improved our product,” says the Moonbean Chocolate company representative.
In March 2022, Moonbean Chocolate participated in an impact survey for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to gauge the adoption of best practices and progress made in enhanced trade competitiveness.
Late last year, all the survey participants attended trainings for cocoa businesses and sector support organizations on value-addition through improved quality screening techniques. The trainings enabled participants to network, make local business deals, and derive inspiration to experiment with chocolate-making for diversifying their chocolate products using new recipes.
The survey asked for feedback on the operationalization of the knowledge and skills gained in the trainings that led to either immediate impacts at the SME level or more indirect benefits for farming communications.
The results from the survey are encouraging. More than 10,300 farmer suppliers of three cooperatives and 1,870 farmer suppliers of four SMES are now able to improve cocoa quality management in harvest, post-harvest and fermentation, leading to more awareness of a quality culture at both the cooperative and individual household level.
Due to the improved quality, many participants are making significant headway with their businesses. One of the respondents, Equator Chocolate was able to supply its chocolate to major buyers including Carrefour, Newrest/UIS and Marasa at a total value of $38,100.
The training was also instrumental in meeting the requirements of the National Bureau of Standards and Equator Chocolate has now been granted the license after improvements because of the training.
Furthermore, those SMEs that were not able to produce cocoa at an optimal volume per acre in the past, reported to have planted additional cocoa trees and enhanced quality through the adoption of better harvest and post-harvest practices prior to fermentation.
The overall results showed that improvements in business, and operational changes, can enable SMEs to increase their trade competitiveness. The survey was conducted by the International Trade Centre through the EU-EAC MARKUP project.
The European Union (EU) - East African Community (EAC) Market Access Upgrade Programme (MARKUP) is a regional trade development initiative, which aims to address both the supply side and market access constraints of selected key export-oriented sectors.
MARKUP aims to increase exports of agribusiness and horticultural products and promote regional integration and access to the European market by addressing specific challenges that small and medium enterprises, trade and investment support institutions and policy-makers face in accessing regional and EU export markets.
Funded by the EU, the programme is implemented by the Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the International Trade Centre (ITC), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), and other national partners.