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Kawa Moka – Wine Of The Bean

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Kawa is an Arabic word that literally translates into “wine of the bean” or coffee, whilst Moka is the name of a seaport city on the Red Sea coast of Yemen, which was originally coffee’s gateway into Europe.  Moka was the major marketplace for coffee (Coffea arabica) from the 15th century until the early 18th century and is still prized for its Mocha beans. These two words lend themselves to the name of a female led Ghanaian Coffee Company, Kawa Moka, that specializes in the production of artisan, small batch roasted coffee. Their green beans are grown organically by over twenty women, small farm owners in Leklebi in the Afadjato South District of the Volta Region of Ghana.

Emi-Beth Aku Quantson, the founder, CEO and Chief Caffeination Officer of Kawa Moka, describes the organization as a “social enterprise coffee shop and creative space” that has vertically integrated to include roasting and sustainable farming while empowering underprivileged women through employment and mentorship. The company, under the incubation program of the Ghana Climate Innovation Centre (GCIC) is seeking to deepen its use of sustainable and climate smart agricultural practices in its manufacturing processes.

The GCIC is funded by Global Affairs Canada and has supported Kawa Moka to invest its grant into mechanizing its production line to improve production efficiency, product quality and reduce net emissions from its production. Some of the machinery secured includes green grader, destoner, solar system and Vortex Eco Filter. The Eco Filter will screen smoke, dust, chaff, odor and reduce harmful carbon emissions during coffee roasting.

According to Examining the Carbon Footprint of Coffee | The Eco Guide and  Here’s Why Zero-Emissions Coffee Roasting Matters (, it is determined that on average, the roasting stage of coffee processing  contributes approximately 15% of the overall footprint (1.25 pounds to a pound of coffee).   A 2013 study by the Incae business school in Costa Rica, found 21 per cent of total emissions from the country’s coffee industry came from farming, and most of that figure from the use of fertilizers. Transportation accounted for 5.5 per cent, grinding and purchasing (5.5 per cent), packaging (2.5 per cent), and eventual disposal (3 per cent). The disproportionate figure was from the point of consumption, in this case a customer buying and making their cup of coffee. This end point accounted for a surprisingly high 43 per cent of total emissions in the whole cycle from a farm in Costa Rica to a European consumer.  The reduction of emissions at the roasting stage is therefore quite a significant contribution in reducing these figures.

The financial grant provided to Kawa Moka by GCIC, also facilitated the installation of solar panels, to not only provide clean energy at the production plant, but also to ensure consistent power for production, in the age of interrupted power supply by the national grid. Solar energy is an important source of renewable energy in Ghana and the nation has good solar power potential, with solar irradiation levels ranging between 4.5 to 6.0 kWh/m2 per day. Following international trends, in the last three years, solar power in Ghana has attracted more investment than any other power technology and this is because very year, there is an average of 1800 to 3000 sun hours which might not be the highest in the world, but is comparable to, for example, the south of Europe.

The challenges that Kawa Moka faces continue to be financial support to grow their value chain and increasing the impact on their farmer network. There are also several challenges in operating in the present business environment for growing enterprises including the acquisition of several business operational licenses and certifications  (fire, local authority, data protection, Food and Drugs Authority etc.), the requirement for compliance with several different authorities (Pensions – tier 1 and 2, various Ghana Revenue Authority taxes and respective payment deadlines and the cash flow implications. SMEs in Ghana still complain of complicated tax regimes, insufficient tax breaks and a favorable business environment to enable them to grow and have the impact on job and wealth creation particularly for the youth.

In addition to the changes Kawa Moka is making to green her production process, the company within six months of incubation (Dec 2021 to June 2022), has increased its number of employees within the local community by 22% and looking ahead, it is estimated that with a more efficient production line, the savings made will be invested into growing global sales and purchasing additional raw materials for production that will also  increase job creation by 56% , which will equate to 25 jobs in the community by 2025, as the business becomes more efficient and expands and over 1000 households impacted in the rural communities. Kawa Moka is also working on obtaining organic certification for the company.