Lameck Borega, the Investment Facilitation Officer of the Export Processing Zone, made the announcement at the 36thDar es Salaam International Trade Fair (DITF).
The Swiss chocolatier Nuechatel, who has been operating since 1982, is to open a base in Tanzania’s Export Processing Zone by this September; with a view to producing high-quality chocolate for both Swiss and US markets later this year. The deal will also have a high level of sustainability and is sure to bring further jobs and wealth to an area rich in natural resources.
The factory is likely to be situated in the Benjamin Mkapa EPZ, and Nuechatel has already produced local chocolate samples, which are being exhibited at the 36thDITF this week.
Whilst Tanzania is the first East African country to strike such a deal, Swiss chocolate makers are no strangers to the African market, with the West African nation of Ghana continuing to produce over 50 percent of Swiss cocoa.
Aside from job creation, the deal will also drive down the local price of chocolate, a commodity that is much loved in urban areas and among young people.
“For the first time, consumers are going to have chocolate made locally with the label 'quality chocolate from Tanzania’”, said a proud Borega, who has arranged the agreement so that 20 percent of the product can be sold locally with price incentives for Tanzanian consumers.
Kamillo Kitzmantel, General Manager of the world famous chocolate makers Lindt, has been noted as saying:“supply can never meet demand.” With this in mind, the decision from the Tanzanian Ministry of Trade to dip into the chocolate market can only be seen as a safe one, especially as African cocoa is considered the gold standard in chocolate production.
Although exports will largely be aimed towards US and European markets, there is a possibility for further intra-African trade, and in the past three years the scale of Tanzania’s exports going to other African countries has increased by 11 percent to 41.9 percentof total exports.
The private agreement between Neuchatel and Tanzania’s Ministry of Trade and Agriculture is set to be one of many blossoming relationships between European business expertise and African agriculture.