At VAA, we work with numerous African producers who provide high-quality goods from a wide range of categories. To find out more about our producers and their stories select a category from the drop-down below:
Meru, Mt. Kenya
Meru is a leading Kenyan cooperative whose food processing is based on the crops of its 479 farmer members. The cooperative was formed to help small farmers benefit from an irrigation project in the Eastern Mt Kenya region of Meru. This water project has led to increased food security in the region.
Deepa Industries started in 1973 as a small ethnic snack cottage industry with three employees operating out of a house. Since then it has grown from house-based operation to a household name in Kenya with products also being exported to Uganda, Tanzania, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and various other countries in the region. Though still family-owned, it now employs over 140 personnel in a new 4,200 square metre, state- of- the-art factory in Nairobi’s industrial area.
The company has become a Kenyan leader in the packing and blending of various spices and herbs and the brand “TROPICAL HEAT” is a familiar name on supermarket shelves and in kitchens. Tropical Heat spices contain no bulking agents, are sourced directly from the best associated growing regions worldwide, and are natural and always freshly ground before being packed. The cleaning processes before the grinding are extremely exhaustive to maintain product quality.
The other range of products which the company manufactures are Potato flavoured crisps, Crinkle Crisps, Masala Sticks, Peanuts, Chick Peas and a range of ethnic snacks like Chevdo and Bhusu, all fried in heart-healthy filtered corn and sunflower oils and packed in nitrogen flushed foil packaging to maintain freshness and taste.
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
From its start in 1998, Tutu and her family commercial plc. have been providing work and capacity-building opportunities to thousands of beekeepers across Ethiopia. The company consists of highly- qualified beekeeping experts who regularly conduct training of its workers on modern beekeeping technologies. Tutu has stringent quality controls, a strong articulation of employee welfare, and a robust system for environmental suatainability. Their honey production is organic and they train on the construction of transitional-type hives from locally available materials.
Tutu is currently comprised of 15 full-time workers, 6 of whom are women, and the company partners with 4 bee-keeping cooperatives of over 500 beekeepers and one union of 6 beekeeping cooperatives comprising over 400 beekeeping farmers. With an annual export capacity of 250 tons, Tutu is an ideal company to work with. With their state-of the-art processing equipment that includes stainless steel honey extractors and presses, their quality assurance is exemplary, having resulted in their receiving ISO 22OOO & HACCAP certifications.
Strongly believing that worker satisfaction is integral to product quality, Tutu invests in its workers. To ensure that there is always an available trainer, they place field experts in close proximity to beekeeping associations. They also provide protective clothing, equipment, manuals in local languages and hygienically-fit local collection centres for the easy and immediate storage of honey. Tutu strongly encourage and train women beekeepers. Furthermore, they operate revolving credit systems with local beekeepers, facilitating their ownership of new technologies.
Training on construction of transitional type hive from locally available material, photo provided by Tutu