Black Mamba is one of the first beneficiaries of the International Trade Centre’s Alliances for Action (A4A) initiative funded by the EU, under the EU priority of green, inclusive and sustainable growth. EU Ambassador to Eswatini Dessislava Choumelova notes that the idea is to support the private sector in job creation while targeting local producers and artisan communities to ensure sustainability and inclusivity.

Article by Inside Biz

On 25 August 2022, European Union (EU) Ambassador to Eswatini, Dessislava Choumelova, and the International Trade Centre (ITC) marked the unveiling of a new, scaled-up factory for Black Mamba-Chilli Sauces & Foods in Matsapha.

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 ITC Alliances for Action (A4A) initiative funded by the EU, under the EU priority of green, inclusive and sustainable growth. This initiative aims to establish a network that transforms food systems and advances the Sustainable Development Goals through producer partnerships that cultivate ethical, climate-smart, sustainable agricultural value chains.

Black Mamba has experienced a phenomenal increase in demand for its products across markets in recent months. This is 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 that the EU Ambassador undertook to Black Mamba and Guba Permaculture Education Centre, an organization 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 and 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 the climate change, COVID-19 pandemic, and the 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. 

The Ambassador observed that one of the EU’s objectives to support of 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, and bring in expertise to build the needed skills, strengthen value chains, and ensure export readiness. We salute the focus on environmental protection through the use of indigenous resources and sustainable methods,” said the Ambassador.

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 need to double its 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 turn, 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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