Value Added in Africa


Last Updated: October 2015


Proudly Made In Africa



France does not export grapes. They capture the value and bottle it. Why should African countries not do the same? Conall O’Caoimh, founder of Value Added in Africa, talks about producer processing.  


Meru Herbs from Kenya are produced by a co-op that used to sell dry organic herbs at €6 per kg. Now it sells the same herbs as packaged teabags, and earns €36 per kg – six times more. This positive impact is why a product being processed at source in developing countries can, and should, be added to the criteria by which we judge its ethics.


Solino Coffee at the source in Ethiopia


To help consumers recognise products, our charity Value Added in Africa developed the Proudly Made in Africa label. To receive the label a producer must show they make a quality product in Africa, based on locally grown inputs, in a transparent and ethical supply chain. 



Solino coffee is the only coffee that is roasted and packed in Africa that is widely available in Europe. Ethiopian producers capture almost double the value from exporting roasted coffee than they do from exporting raw or ‘green’ coffee beans. 

We at Value Added in Africa had initially searched for a coffee that was roasted in sub-Saharan Africa, met supermarkets’ food safety standards, and was also fully certified as Fairtrade. However, we had to give up on full Fairtrade certification as we could only find one which met all of those criteria, and the company was afraid to put its roasted and branded coffee onto European markets because it still depended on the giant brands to buy its raw beans.

I believe that Solino is forging a new ethical path. It is shaping the future of trade – creating a more just future in which African producers are no longer locked into producing unprocessed raw materials, but instead capture the proper value of their resources before exporting them.  It is proving that great tasting coffee can be roasted at source, in Ethiopia, creating skilled jobs and reducing poverty.  

This is a great achievement. Now that Solino has proved that it is possible to do it at scale, others are bound to copy. The market will grow. Processed at source in developing countries will become a real option for ethical consumers, creating livelihoods for many poor producers. 


Buy Solino coffee here




Poorer Countries are Moving up the Value-chain


Change has been happening in African countries. African producers are increasingly reaching the quality and food safety standards required by European retailers. And trade rules have also become less of an obstacle: import taxes on African-made goods such as roasted coffee, chocolate or garments are now zero. 

This opens up new possibilities for bringing fairness to your shopping basket. ‘Processed at source’ was not available some years ago, but is now offered by a growing number of UK retailers: 


  • Traidcraft recently introduced five ranges of ‘producer brands’: jams, herbal teas, sauces, spices – all grown and packaged at source in Kenya, Swaziland and South Africa. 
  • Marks & Spencer source teabags grown, processed and packaged by the Iriaini co-op in Kenya, and certified Fairtrade from farm to factory.
  • Clarke’s have introduced a ‘Soul of Africa’ range of shoes. 
  • Waitrose and WholeFoods Market stock Madécasse chocolate – made bean-to-bar in Madagascar, and fully certified by Fair for Life. 
  • The Body Shop sells cotton accessories made by the World Fair Trade Organisation member Craft Aid of Mauritius. 
  • In Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia and Tanzania cotton grown under ethically certified conditions is being processed into finished garments in independently audited factories. 





Watch the video for more information on Proudly Made in Africa: 




Further Reading

Product Guide: Ground Coffee

Discover which coffee companies score worst on our rating. Are coffee companies still failing coffee farmers? Find out which companies have accepted the need for a fairer trade. 

Read More



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