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Swaziland-based chilli business finds export success | How We Made it in Africa

“From the beginning, we knew that we wanted to work with small farmers who can help us produce organic ingredients for our products,” says Claudia. “So while Guba wanted to improve food security in Swaziland, Black Mamba came on board to fulfil its second objective – which is to create market access and income for the farmers. It’s a win-win situation.”

“We have agreed contracts and prices signed with Guba and the farmers every year. That way, farmers have a secured sustainable income, and they know how much they are going to earn – a price better than what they will get in the market,” she explains.

During its first year in business, Black Mamba supported itself with Claudia and her husband’s personal savings, but the business soon began to struggle financially. This was mainly due to a pricing strategy gone wrong. For a long time, Black Mamba products were sold at relatively low price points in order to drive volume growth. By 2014, the business was in really bad financial shape. However, the duo managed to restructure the company, and in mid-2015 introduced a new strategy.

“By changing our pricing strategy through rebranding, we managed to make Black Mamba profitable again. We also realised that it’s not always about volume, sometimes it’s about charging the right price for the right market. So I will rather sell less at a price that it needs to be sold, than sell at a price that is not good for me,” she explains.

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Swaziland-based chilli business finds export success.

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