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OPPORTUNITIES IN BLACK MAMBA FACTORY

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MATSAPHA – The new Black Mamba factory has availed opportunities for the retail and wholesale industry, and individuals with interest in trade.

Black Mamba products are already available in some retail shops locally and the opening of a new factory will expand their reach. Nkosinathi Gama, the director of Quick Buy Wholesalers said this was an opportunity for them to procure Black Mamba products at retail prices. He said they had noticed the performance of the product in the market and it was a viable business investment. “There is less risk in selling the product now because the public has shown interest in it, contributing to the good market performance,” he said. Gama added that this would also increase employment opportunities for the public.

European Union (EU) Ambassador to Eswatini Dessislava Choumelova and the International Trade Centre marked the unveiling of a new, scaled-up factory for Black Mamba-Chilli Sauces and Foods in Matsapha last week. Black Mamba was established in 2010 and launched during the Bushfire Festival that same year. Its portfolio of products includes an award-winning chili sauce, delicious chutneys, fresh pestos and sweet jams, with ingredients sustainably and ethically sourced from local farmers in Eswatini. The business is one of the first beneficiaries of the International Trade Centre’s (ITC) Alliances for Action (A4A) initiative funded by the EU, under the EU priority of green, inclusive and sustainable growth.

Aimed

This initiative aimed to establish a network that transforms food systems and advances Sustainable Development Goals through producer partnerships that cultivate ethical, climate- smart and sustainable agri-businesses. Black Mamba has experienced a phenomenal increase in demand for their products across markets in recent months. This was also resulting from the technical support provided by the EU and ITC to improve their skills, processes and market access facilitation. To build on this momentum, Black Mamba has made the bold move to scale-up its processing facilities and expand its business. The unveiling took place during a field visit which the EU Ambassador undertook to Black Mamba and Guba Permaculture Education Centre, an organisation that trains farmers in designing sustainable low-carbon, highly productive human and environmental systems.

Speaking during the unveiling, EU Ambassador Choumelova, said she was impressed with the already visible impact of the ITC programme both at Guba and Black Mamba, especially by the effective synergies between the different project stakeholders. “What I saw today is truly inspiring. The Guba and Black Mamba success stories are a symbol of hope for Eswatini. After the effects of climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic and civil unrest, these stories bring hope by empowering youth and farmers with the right skills and knowledge for a green and inclusive economic recovery,” she said.

Objectives

The ambassador stated that one of the EU’s objectives to support ITC was to extend support to the country’s micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) on value addition and to enable them to make full use of the Economic Partnership Agreement between the EU and the Southern African Development Community (SADC), including Eswatini.  
“We want to help create the right business environment for entrepreneurship, for businesses to thrive, create decent jobs, bring in expertise to build the needed skills, strengthen value chain and ensure export readiness. We salute the focus on environmental protection through the use of indigenous resources and sustainable methods,” said the ambassador.
The idea was to support the private sector in job creation, while targeting local producer and artisan communities to ensure sustainability and inclusivity.

The EU said it wanted to see the public sector giving full support to the private sector by continuing to lead discussions on improving the business environment and regulatory frameworks that supported the private sector. The ambassador further mentioned that public-private partnerships were necessary to ensure inclusive sustainable growth and green economic recovery. The partnership with ITC’s Alliances for Action, a champion of small agribusiness enterprises, is a natural step to bring value to local businesses to help them grow, develop, and empower local people and small producers.

On the other hand, Black Mamba’s Co-founder and Managing Director, Claudia Castellanos said for her company to meet the new demand from both local and export markets, they needed to double their monthly output from the current average of 7  000 units per month to at least 15  000 units per month. Moving to bigger premises was a necessity and a logical next step. “We have a product that is good and export-ready – but it has huge growth potential and ITC-Alliances for Action has been instrumental in helping us tap into that. They have enabled us to attend trade shows where we showcased our brand and connected with new markets, which has in turned triggered rapid growth for us,” said Castellanos. Black Mamba’s current main markets include South Africa, Germany, the US, Norway, Taiwan and the UK. The business currently employs 21 people and supports an important community of local producers.

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