Tanzania is one of the lesser-known cocoa growing countries. The Cocoa grown in Tanzania is certified organic cocoa and most cocoa beans are fine or flavour cocoa beans from Criollo or Trinitario. Kyela district in Tanzania accounts for almost 80% of the cocoa grown in Tanzania and has almost perfect climates for growing Cocoa with most farmers producing cocoa being small holder farmers. Bringing together their skills Miriam and Naomi are on a mission to add value to cocoa and develop Tanzania’s chocolate market.
Meet The Team
Naomi and Miriam Mwasambili - Tanzania
Naomi and Miriam Mwasambili are a sister duo of Tanzanian and Jamaican heritage working to add value to the cocoa value chain in Tanzania. Growing up in the UK their career paths diverged. Miriam has nearly 20 years’ experience working in the hospitality sector, started training as a chef, working her way up to become executive pastry chef in some of London’s most exclusive venues including Michelin star restaurant Club Gascon, Paramount, Mere, The Royal Automobile club and more recently Executive Group Pastry Chef for the Cream Group. She was one of the youngest black female head pastry chefs in London at the age of 24. She has led teams for a range of large-scale events from film premiers to royal culinary engagements. Passionate about all things pastry she started her fine chocolate training early on in her career primarily working with Valrhona. Knowing the importance of the early stages of food production, she is focused on quality assurance processes in chocolate making from seed to bar. Getting closer to her heritage is now more of a priority in her life and ensuring that she can inspire a new generation of Africans to develop their pastry and chocolate making skills while bringing high quality Tanzanian chocolate to the market.
A psychologist by training, Naomi is an award-winning social entrepreneur leading initiative spanning health, mental health, entrepreneurship, tech, agriculture and social innovation. A finalist in the Great British Entrepreneur awards, Naomi is an agriculturalist at heart and passionate about organic and permaculture farming. From childhood she could always be found in the garden and wherever she could she always found the space to grow food – even in her London flat. Relocating to Tanzania has allowed her to further explore her love of plant-based medicine and all the health benefits that cocoa can bring. She is focused on developing sustainable products and projects that consider the real impacts of community livelihoods, climate and health. After many years of exploring and discussing project together, in 2017 she started working alongside her family, driven by their father and supported by their mother to develop Livy Africa, a manufacturing and innovation social business focused on value addition in Tanzania with a specific focus on cocoa.
Both Naomi and Miriam's grandparents were from the Southern Highlands in Tanzania, so it made sense to base their work within this region. Livy Africa has been working within the Mbeya Region and more specifically Kyela, Tanzania for over 5 years developing the ecosystem through mentorship, innovation work and more recently their ready for business programme and the launch of the first Cocoa Bar at Ngonga Beach Resort. Working closely with Mababu CCF Farmers they are implementing plans to increase the production and value addition capacity within the village. The deliver their products through their brands EcoFarmTanzania and welcome people to come and see the beauty of Tanzania….Karibu Sana
You can see our journey @livyafrica and @ecofarmtanzania and see some of Miriam’s beautiful creations @miriams_munchies