TANZANIA will soon become the first East African country to produce and export chocolates.
The move will also bring down prices of chocolate, a product loved in urban centres, especially by children and youths.
The Export Processing Zone Investors Facilitation Officer, Mr Lameck Borega, said at the ongoing 36th Dar es Salaam International Trade Fair (DITF), on Thursday that the Neuchatel Chocolate, a Swiss chocolate making company, is to open base at the EPZ in September where it will make chocolates for export to Swiss markets.
"The factory will either be in the Benjamin Mkapa EPZ or in other zones," he said. The Company has already made local chocolate samples, currently being exhibited at the 36th DITF. "It will be the first company based in East Africa to make chocolates," he said.
He said Neuchatel was currently registering a local company and would start production in September. "We are awaiting their business plan.They say they have seen that we have good investment policies and business environment and should make use of it," he said.
He said that for the first time, consumers are going to have chocolate made locally with the label, 'quality chocolate from Tanzania.' "It will be branded, best chocolate from Tanzania and sold to external markets," he said. He said prices of chocolates will go down in the domestic market since the EPZ firms were allowed to sell 20 per cent of their products locally.
"For EPZ made products, they get price incentives, meaning that for us who expect to buy it locally,it will be at lower prices, " he said. Other effects, he said, would be foreign exchange saving and over 100 workers are to be directly employed and new technology to make chocolate is going to be transferred. Neuchatel Chocolates is a premium Swiss chocolate producer.