I am Achy Christian, second year student of biology at the Université Félix Houphouët-Boigny. I am passionate about entrepreneurship. For my passion, I joined the NGO ADN as a volunteer since 2015.
Which problem do we aim to solve and why?
Although Côte d’Ivoire is located in a forest area and produces many food products, it is worth noting that the diet of Ivorian families is low in Calcium, Magnesium and other proteins. Especially in rural areas, children consume less meat, fish, fruit and leaves. And there are many prohibitions. All of this provokes diseases and makes children vulnerable. In Côte d’Ivoire health centers today, children are still lacking in blood. There is therefore a real problem of ignorance of the benefits of many products and plants that surround our populations. There are many micronutrients in many plants that can be used to improve the health of children and mothers in Côte d’Ivoire.
We offer an accessible and abundant solution to help children and their mothers fill the magnesium shortage. These are cocoa beans. Indeed, the Ivory Coast occupies the first place of cocoa producers in the world. If this position generates income for millions of producers and the Côte d’Ivoire state, cocoa beans consumed in chocolate or dried can play an important role in the health of children in Côte d’Ivoire. This product is grown in the south, center, east and west of Côte d’Ivoire and is available in 8 out of 12 months each year. Unfortunately, it is exported to Europe, the United States and China without the Ivorian children consuming it to benefit from its micro-nutrients. Our solution is to work with a cooperative (COOPASA-SCOOPS) to collect the dried beans and then turn them into chocolate, to sell at lower cost to mothers in health centers. Cocoa being very rich in magnesium, it will reduce the absence of iron in the child’s blood, which is why we will encourage consumption also by mothers.
Why is our idea innovative, new or different?
Our idea is innovative, new and different because it will change the looks of millions of people on the first export product of Ivory Coast. Indeed, producers have always sold cocoa since independence without knowing that beans can improve the health of their children. Innovation is the pleasant surprise that producers will have, and the novelty is that now they will see cocoa otherwise. It will no longer simply be an export product that allows them to have income but it will also be a product that improves the health of their children through the production and sale of small chocolate bags to schoolchildren and students. With our project, Ivorian children will learn to love cocoa, and improve quality.
How is our idea feasible?
There are several reasons for our project to be feasible. First, the availability of cocoa. The Ivory Coast produces 1,800,000 tons of cocoa each year. The product is therefore available throughout the year, so there is no supply problem. Secondly, chocolate is mainly produced in Europe and is expensive for Ivorian consumers. But with our project, we will produce small plates of chocolate and offer them to children, and moms. We are already in partnership with an agricultural cooperative in Côte d’Ivoire. I work with an NGO that supervises cocoa producers in the south. We know all the cocoa production and marketing circuit and we are sons of cocoa producers. In addition, we will offer very good chocolate at a lower cost to fill children’s iron deficiency.
Which technologies, channels or methods are we planning to use?
We will use a technology available and simple. We will start by grinding the cocoa beans well dried and collected from the producers. Once the cocoa powder is obtained, we will add sugar and cocoa butter. Cocoa butter will be purchased from a local plant here in Côte d’Ivoire (CEMOI or SACO). For a 100 g chocolate wafer, we use 30 % sugar, 30 % powder and 40 % butter. These machines will be installed in Agboville which is a large cocoa production area.
What outcome and what improvements do we expect? How do we measure these?
The expected results are:
Cocoa produtors know the benefits of cocoa.
Diseases related to iron deficiency in children are reduced in Ivorian children.
The cocoa producers are well bought and the latter makes money to feed his family well.
To measure, we will work with Ministry of Health officials to encourage children with anemia to consume chocolate. We will follow them with a notebook to measure the reduction of iron deficiency and the improvement of the health of the children.
Our budget planning & acquisition of potential partners
The implementation of our project requires a start-up investment of 9500 euros. As partners we have:
NGO ADN, which is based in Côte d’Ivoire and has expertise in entrepreneurship. It will accompany us in project success through their advice and assistance (www.adn-ci.org).
COOPASA-SCOOPS, which is a cooperative based in Agboville that will take care of collecting the cocoa beans for us (Facebook.com: Coopasa Agboville).
Tom Assemien hermann