- Title: Congo and the chocolate factory: new producer hits the sweet spot
- Date: 1st July 2020
- Summary: GOMA, DR CONGO (JUNE 23, 2020) (REUTERS) COCOA BEANS BEING DRIED AND SORTED, 70-YEAR-OLD CHOCOLATIER KALINDA SALIMU ALEXIS SUPERVISING CLOSE UP OF HANDS OF WORKER SPREADING THE BEANS OUT TO DRY IN THE SUN KALINDA PICKING AND THROWING OUT BEANS HE DOESN'T LIKE CLOSE UP OF KALINDA'S HAND SORTING THROUGH A SMALLER PORTION OF COCOA BEANS KALINDA AND A WORKER LOOKING THROUGH A TRAY OF COCOA (SOUNDBITE) (French) FOUNDER AND OWNER OF LOWA CHOCOLATE, KALINDA SALIMU ALEXIS, SAYING: "It's really easy to make chocolate because we have raw materials. We have cocoa, even the best cocoa of all the cocoa in the world. And so it's easy to make chocolate. Except that we have constraints, we can make chocolate, but I can say that we lack the equipment. Because for the moment everything is modernized, we lack the machines to manufacture chocolate in large quantities." AN EMPLOYEE AND AISHA KALINDA, THE OWNER'S GRANDDAUGHTER, POURING IN BLOCKS OF CHOCOLATE IN THE FACTORY CLOSE UP OF AISHA KALINDA STIRRING THE CHOCOLATE (SOUNDBITE), (English) CHOCOLATIER, AISHA KALINDA, SAYING: "Most people don't know that chocolate can actually be made in DRC. They usually think chocolate is from the UK, from the US. Yet we also have our plantations here, but people have that ignorance of looking at chocolate like it's something from abroad, that cannot be made in Africa. So, we decided to break that rule and make the chocolate." VARIOUS OF EMPLOYEE MUSSA AHMAD LUBENGA TAKING MELTED CHOCOLATE AND SPREADING IN CHOCOLATE BAR TRAYS (SOUNDBITE) (French) LOWA EMPLOYER, MUSSA AHMAD LUBENGA, SAYING: "The Lowa chocolate is a chocolate with several nutritional benefits and is appreciated on the market because we get our cocoa from Walikale. The cocoa grown there is organic, without chemical fertilizers; and when it comes to us here, we process it, we take the cocoa, we add locally made sugar, we also add local milk. You will see that it produces a pure chocolate." VARIOUS OF KALINDA SALIMU ALEXIS TASTING THE FINAL PRODUCT KALINDA HOLDING A LOWA CHOCOLATE BAR AND TURNING IT AROUND VARIOUS OF THE BARS BEING WRAPPED GOMA, DR CONGO (JUNE 24, 2020) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (French) ECONOMIST, PATRICK MUNDEKE, SAYING: "Cocoa production can be very important from an economic point of view in the Democratic Republic of the Congo since, firstly, cocoa is exported in its raw state which can bring as much foreign currency as mining and other sectors. But also, cocoa is processed domestically in the DRC which can create jobs. It can also be a source of income when we export the finished products; chocolate, butter; and cocoa oils. All this can bring a lot of money." SHOWS: GOMA, DR CONGO (JUNE 23, 2020) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF CUSTOMER, BARITEGERA NIKUSE GLORIA, BUYING THE CHOCOLATE VARIOUS OF BARITEGERA PAYING AT THE TILL (SOUNDBITE) (French) CUSTOMER, BARITEGERA NIKUSE GLORIA, SAYING: "I chose Lowa chocolate because firstly it is a chocolate made here in Goma, so it's natural, it's organic. Since I tasted this chocolate, I haven't been able to put it down. I'm taking a lot of chocolate at the moment." WORKERS SIFTING THROUGH COCOA BEANS, SHAKING THEM IN A TRAY VARIOUS CLOSE UP OF THE COCOA BEING THROWN UP AND DOWN
- Embargoed: 15th July 2020 11:03
- Keywords: Cocao Congo Goma North Kivu chocolate chocolatier. Lowa Chocolate coffee coltan gold
- Location: GOMA, DR CONGO
- City: GOMA, DR CONGO
- Country: Congo, Democratic Republic of the
- Topics: Commodities Markets,Economic Events
- Reuters ID: LVA001CKZ8I1J
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:It has been a long wait for Kalinda Salumu, as he painstakingly checks every cocoa bean while they dry in the sun. In 2014, he had a dream of turning plantations abandoned after Congo's independence, into productive cooperatives that could export beans abroad.
His first harvest of 200kg wasn't enough to reach the legal minimum to export, so he sent his son to Kampala, Uganda's capital to train as a chocolatier. The cocoa is collected by small-scale farmers mostly women, from forests in Walikale about 93 miles north of Goma.
"It's really easy to make chocolate because we have raw materials. We have cocoa, even the best cocoa of all the cocoa in the world," Kalinda said.
He invested his life savings of $20,000 into what has become a family business.
Kalinda's granddaughter, Aisha Kalinda, melts the chunks of cocoa into chocolate.
"Most people don't know that chocolate can actually be made in DRC. People have that ignorance, of looking at chocolate like its something from abroad, that cannot be made in Africa. So, we decided to break that rule and make the chocolate," said Aisha while stirring the melting chocolate.
Their brand Lowa, is the name of a river in Walikale where the beans grow.
Lacking sophisticated modern equipment, their output is limited and their chocolate expensive, but the bars have found a keen following in the provincial capital Goma.
At a local supermarket, Baritegera Nikuse Gloria grabbed a $5 bar. She likes it because it's local, and organic.
"Since I tasted this chocolate, I haven't been able to put it down," she said.
For decades eastern Democratic Republic of Congo's underground riches like gold and coltan have sustained cycles of deadly violence. But before civil strife engulfed the region in the 1990s, North Kivu province exported overground riches too, like coffee and cocoa
"Cocoa is processed domestically in the DRC which can create jobs. It can also be a source of income when we export the finished products; chocolate, butter; and cocoa oils. All this can bring a lot of money", explained economist and cocoa expert Patrick Munkede.
For the owners of Lowa, their factory may be tiny, but they have big dreams of creating local solutions that can help transform their region.
(Djaffar Al Katanty, Nazanine Moshiri)
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