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:
The Kenya Nut Company
Nestled in the misty highlands of East Africa, the Kenya Nut Company grows and processes organic nuts that have the exciting taste of Africa. Established in 1972, today the Kenya Nut Company is one of the leading macadamia nut processors worldwide. Presently, they employ more than 2500 skilled personnel in their macadamia and cashew nut processing department.
Their brands include Out of Africa and Nutfields which also specialise in coffee, tea and chocolate. Their brands meet the highest international standards as they have a commitment to the integrity and quality of their products.
Out of Africa
Out of Africa is one of the most popular brands belonging to the Kenya Nut Company (KNC). Out of Africa is one of the leading producers of nuts, teabags and coffee in East Africa. The brand is dedicated to sustainable organic agriculture.
Out of Africa produces roasted coffee, green coffee and tea bags. Coffee is available in ground and bean and is organic with full traceability.
ESWATINI SWAZI KITCHEN
Eswatini Kitchen is a fair trade producer of natural gourmet food, certified by WFTO and COFTA that exports its products to 15 international destinations including Europe, USA, Australia and Japan, complying with food safety standards, HACCP requirements and international regulations.
Eswatini Kitchen has grown from a small cottage industry to a thriving business that is enhancing the lives of underprivileged communities by providing a fair and sustainable income for over 300 people in Swaziland, and devoting all its proceeds to the Manzini Youth Care initiatives, which support more than 2000 marginalized children and young people in the country.
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Oliberté is a sustainable brand supporting workers’ rights in sub-Saharan Africa. Oliberté believe in empowerment, transparency, and doing right by all. This means making premium quality products with a lifetime warranty, and it means treating every employee, everywhere in the world, with respect.
In 2009, Oliberté started off as a small footwear company partnering with factories and suppliers in Africa. Since then, they gained enough momentum to launch our very own factory in 2012. Oliberté make every single pair of Oliberté shoes at this factory in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. In September 2013, they also became the world’s first Fair Trade Certified™ footwear manufacturing factory.
Brooklyn-based Madécasse was founded in 2008 by former Peace Corps volunteers. While living in Madagascar, they came to understand why Africa remains the poorest continent in the world—it supplies 70% of the world’s cocoa but 0% of its chocolate. Inspired to change this, Madécasse was born, becoming the only company producing high quality bean-to-bar, hand-wrapped chocolate and vanilla products on the continent of Africa.
Madagascar is the 10th poorest country in the world, and the average person lives off of less than a dollar a day. By providing equipment and training – and producing the entire product locally – Madécasse is able to provide 100% of production costs to the people of Madagascar.
Madécasse was named one of the “World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies” in 2011 by Fast Company, and the “2012 Leader of Change” by the United Nations Office of Partnerships and the Foundation for Social Change.
EAST AFRICAN BREWERIES - Tusker
East African Breweries Limited (Eabl) is East Africa’s leading branded alcohol beverage business with an outstanding collection of brands that range from beer, spirits and adult non-alcoholic drinks (ANADs) reaffirming its standing as a total adult beverage (TAB) company.
With breweries, distilleries, support industries and a distribution network across the region, the group’s diversity is an important factor in delivering the highest quality brands to East African consumers and long-term value to East African investors and delivering on their vision to be the most celebrated business in East Africa.
TUSKER™ can now be found in the UK and Ireland. The name TUSKER™ came about as a memoriam following the death of George Hurst a co-founder of Kenya Breweries Ltd who was killed by an elephant during a hunting expedition in 1922. The brand has since grown to be Eabl’s flagship brand.
TUSKER is brewed from 100% African ingredients that are all locally sourced; the barley is from the Savannah and the Maasai Mara, the spring water is from the Aberdare Mountains and all the yeast is developed locally which means that you feel closely connected to the brand’s origins and roots.
Ethiopia is the largest producer of coffee in sub-Saharan Africa, responsible for 4.4% of total world coffee production (The Africa Report, April 2014).
Solino is one of the first fully made-in-Ethiopia to reach Europe. This means that the growing, harvesting, processing, roasting, packaging and branding is entirely done in Ethiopia.
Solino is an arabica highland coffee from the areas of Yirgacheffee, Harar and Sidamo. It is roasted in a traditional drum roaster at very low temperature for 22 minutes. This guarantees the best possible aroma and very low acidity of our coffee.
Beza Mar are experts in Ethiopian Honey and are dedicated to improving the livelihoods of Ethiopian beekeepers. Beza Mar are extremely strict about the quality of their honey. They’re the first honey producers in Ethiopia to be delivering honey to foreign buyers and it was one of the first African companies to export honey to a European market.
Founded by Erin Brennan Allan, Toto Knits is a line of organic cotton knitwear ethically made by a group of single mothers in Kenya. Working closely with Mary Wambui (who oversees the knitters) Erin designs fun and funky pieces that children and adults alike will love.
The knitters are paid by the piece which allows them to work as much or as little as they like. It’s all about putting family first, especially for moms. This makes our work fun, we love what we do and we hope it shows.
Each piece is made by hand and signed by the knitter. There’s more than one story behind each piece- the design, the materials and the craftsperson who made it each speaks volumes of its provenance. Toto Knits are ideal gifts for baby showers, birthdays, christenings for the ethical shopper - what better way to have fun while shopping responsibly!
NIGERIAN BREWERIES - Star
Nigerian Breweries Plc, the pioneer and largest brewing company in Nigeria, was incorporated in 1946. From its humble beginnings, Nigerian Breweries steadily expanded and can now boast 8 operational brewing facilities across Nigeria, along with a state-of-the-art malting plant in Aba.
Nigerian Breweries has a rich portfolio of high quality brands. For instance, the iconic STAR Beer was introduced in 1949 as Nigeria’s first indigenously brewed beer in a market dominated by imported brands. Due to the quality of the product and persistence of its producers, STAR grew to become a market leader in Nigeria, spurring the growth of the country’s indigenous beer industry and the creation of other Nigerian Breweries’ creations such as Gulder and Maltina. STAR remains one of West Africa’s leading beer brands.
Nigerian Breweries is a consistent contributor to economic growth in Nigeria, as the company creates work for an array of ancillary industries- from manufacturers of bottles, crown corks, labels, cartons plastic crates and such service providers as distributors, transporters, event managers, advertising and marketing communications agencies, etc. Along with its economic contribution, Nigerian Breweries is dedicated to social responsibility practices. With the vision to always “Win with Nigeria”, the company invests in education, sports and youth empowerment initiatives- for instance, by running a secondary and university scholarship programme for children of its employees.
Nigerian Breweries has an increasing export business dating back to 1986. STAR Beer is currently available in outlets across Ireland and the UK.
Nyeri North District, Mount Kenya, Kenya
A grower’s co-operative representing and owned by 8,000 local farmers the Iria-ini Tea Factory is an independent company which operates with the support and assistance of the Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) and is a great example of a real Kenyan success story.
The tea is grown in the scenic highlands of the Mathira division of Nyeri North District and the rich mountainous soils give their tea the delicious and refreshing flavour that led Marks and Spencer to source them for their own M&S brand teas. The photo above shows the M&S tea which was packed at source at Iria-ini.
Mike Korchinsky founded Wildlife Works in 1997 with a simple but powerful idea: protecting endangered wildlife requires balancing the needs of the wildlife with the need for work in those rural towns. He established Rukinga Sanctuary on 80,000 acres of land in South East Kenya to prove that wildlife conservation can attract sustainable development opportunities to rural communities.
At the base of the sanctuary Mike built an eco-factory to produce casual apparel. Over the last decade, over 300 local jobs have been created from Wildlife’s conservation and fashion businesses, bringing countless families out of poverty and unemployment. As a result, the local wildlife has been flourishing; elephants, one of the many protected inhabitants of the sanctuary, have been coming back at a rate of 2-4% each year.
Wildlife Works is the world’s leading REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation), project development and management company with an effective approach to applying innovative market based solutions to the conservation of biodiversity. REDD+ was originated by the United Nations (UN) to help stop the destruction of the world’s forests.
Wildlife Works garments are completely carbon-neutral through the use of credits created from protecting The Kasigau Corridor located in Southeast Kenya. Eco’s 66 full-time factory workers are paid according to the Government of Kenya’s fair wage guidelines for city-level skilled wages with full health care coverage for themselves and their families. Trained by Wildlife Works, many of the seamstresses have been with the company since the factory opened its doors in 2000.
Sao Tomé e Principe
Claudio Corallo is the master of chocolate who has developed the world-renowned Claudio Corallo range of chocolates. Made in Sao Tomé and Principe (West Africa) close to the forests where the rare variety of cocoa bean is shade grown, Corallo chocolate captures the full taste and aroma of nature’s original cocoa beans.
Claudio visited Dublin to launch his chocolate products on the Irish market. The wholesaler and distributor in Ireland is the gourmet food specialists Sheridans Cheesemongers. Sheridans sell the chocolate in their shops in Dublin and Galway and wholesale the chocolate to gourmet shops throughout lreland.
Meru, Mt. Kenya, Kenya
A co-op of approximately 500 farmers situated on the slopes of Mount Kenya, Meru Herbs produce, process, and provide a range of certified organic products, available through Fair Trade distribution channels.
For generations the rich volcanic soil of Meru has allowed farmers to grow the most succulent fruits and vegetables. Meru Herbs have captured the identity, vitality and taste of the region in their high-quality teas, jams, and sauces.
Meru has obtained an organic certification from the English company Soil Association Certification Ltd. and today it sends a significant part of its production to Europe, Japan, and the US. They produce organic certified tea bags for both People Tree and Altromercato.