At the end of last year I took some friends to visit the Cambridge Union, an institution that has been dedicated to free debate for 200 years. The occasion: the new President of Ghana, His Excellency Nana Akufo-Addo, was speaking. So, why am I mentioning this now? Because yesterday Pamela Anyoti, founder of Asante Mama - one of Storimarket’s producers - sent me a video of another of Akufo-Addo’s speeches. This time alongside the President Macron of France who was visiting Ghana.
The locations could not be more different, but the theme was the same: what does Africa have to do in the next 60 years to make sure they are not like its last. Whilst appreciative of the support the West has offered to numerous African nations over the last 60 years, Akufo-Addo argues that Africa cannot ‘make policy on the basis of Western support…but needs to chart a path of our own’. So what is this path?
For Akufo-Addo, this path lies in resources: both human and natural. Vast arable land. A young workforce. Minerals and precious metals. However, to date, Africa has been the continent of resource extraction, not realising the full value of their land, and what lies within it. That’s why the Ghanaian President spoke of the importance of investing in manufacturing in Africa and the importance of fair trade policies to allow these goods to enter Europe and other affluent markets.
That’s exactly what Pamela at Asante Mama is doing. Working with smallholder farmers and Asante Mama’s own farm on the shores of Lake Victoria in Uganda, she has founded a food production business which aspires to become a household name across Europe. At the peaceful farm, which has a ‘no killing’ policy and where ten acres are devoted to wildlife, Europe feels a long way away. However, the professionalism, standards and quality that the staff uphold are all focused on meeting the demands of European consumers - therefore, delivering Akufo-Addo’s dream of an Africa built on trade, not aid.
Pamela has chosen a uniquely African path for her company, reflected in the name and the logo. The logo represents the land and its radiant colours, the people, the nature and the wildlife. Furthermore, the name, Asante Mama, means ‘thank you mother’, which is what the farmers say to Pamela when they see her - thanking her for providing a sustainable income for them to care for their families. For Pamela, doing business means also doing good, which is why we are pleased to have her as a Storimarket producer.
Pamela is just one of many African entrepreneurs, like all Storimarket producers, trying to help leaders like Akufo-Addo deliver his vision for the next 60 years. This involves using the vast arable lands of the continent and harnessing the energy of a young workforce, but also developing world-beating products and brands.
Storimarket is a website that allows you to buy direct from smallholder farmers and ethical food producers in Africa. This not only betters their lives, but allows them to continue to farm in a way that is good for the environment and their community. That’s why we say that Storimarket products don’t just taste good, they do good too! Right now, we have healthy, ethical snack boxes immediately available, including tasty chocolate-covered cocoa beans from Uganda and, both from Kenya, nutritious macadamia nuts and delicious dried mango.