Meet the two sisters producing Chocolate for Ghana
Ghana is a major producer of Cocoa but it is not a leader in adding value to its Cocoa to produce Chocolate. In Ghana’s splash residential area of East Legon, two sisters are working hard to change this narrative.
Kim and Priscilla Addison had lived most of their lives away from their home country of Ghana but returned in 2014 to establish a chocolate making business with the brand name, ’57 Chocolate’.
They moved from their comfort zones in Switzerland back to Ghana through the inspiration of their father, David Addison.
Little sister Kim who is in her late 20s said it was an idea that started with a father’s admonishment and motivation.
“Our father spoke to us about entrepreneurship, and that really put a spark in us and it got to a point where we were getting restless, we decided that when our parents retire and move back to Ghana, we too would also follow suit. There we realized that Switzerland is known for its Chocolate however they don’t grow Cocoa, meanwhile Ghana grows Cocoa yet we are not known for our chocolate and we are not known for adding value to Cocoa and making it into a finish product,” Kim said.
The product brand name 57 was derived from Ghana’s year of gaining independence which was 1957. Adopting the independence year for their products according to the sisters was to project the Ghanaian brand.
Production is on a small scale and in their father’s house with the support of two other workers.
Priscilla the eldest of the two sisters is in her early 30s and said “Our particular challenge was like basically electricity problem, that we have here in Ghana, we often undergo power cuts and when you are manufacturing chocolate you need steady electricity so that was one thing for us that was hard to deal with. Another issue for us is we have lived abroad for so long and so we didn’t know the business climate and the business environment and that for us was a struggle.”
Their father, Mr. Addison has helped them steadily overcome these challenges and many more. Despite returning to Ghana in 2014 production only started in 2016 due to some of the challenges Priscilla talked about. Initial capital of $20,000 was from personal savings and family members. Priscilla said family was key in getting them where they are now.
“Our family has been incredible when it comes to this endevour. It was basically our parents who encouraged us to go into entrepreneurship. So we have family who are in the United States, they serve as advisors to us, they have also supported us financially,” Priscilla added.
Chocolate consumption in Ghana is encouraging but most chocolates are imported. Ghana’s government over the years launched a project to encourage consumption of local chocolate on Valentine’s Day, but local producers are not enough.
Kim said their company is beginning to get support from some government officials who are helping to create awareness for the product.
A customer of 57 Chocolate, Asabea Akonor in talking about her experience consuming the product said “I think that first of all I like their packaging, it’s very attractive, I like that very much. The white chocolate, I think I love it. Honestly I really love the white chocolate.”
57 chocolates cost between 1 and 5 Euros and sale is gradually picking up. Priscilla said it’s not just about making money but the desire to change the narrative of Ghana not being able to add value to its natural resources.
“We are trying to encourage the youth to use the products that we have here at home and to turn them into something amazing to show the world that Africa is capable of making quality products and quality chocolate. Whatever quality products that are out there. So that is one of our major drive. And also we are just trying to create a positive narrative for Africa,” Priscilla said.
The Addison sisters hope to expand into other West African countries where Cocoa is produced. The plan is to produce unique chocolate bars that tell the stories of those countries in a unique way. It’s an ambitious plan but they are determined to get there.
Source: Africafeeds.com / Isaac Kaledzi