Koko Sey is bringing to the local market cider vinegar made from mango, banana, pineapple, orange, and coconut. (Koko Sey)
(Seychelles News Agency) – A small Seychelles-based cottage business producing an array of organic condiments from locally grown fruits is seeking to grow the venture, eyeing the international market in the long term.
Owned by husband-and-wife entrepreneurs, Maria and Mark Stevens, “Koko Sey” is bringing to the local market cider vinegar made from mango, banana, pineapple, orange, and coconut. The venture also produces lemongrass tea, hot sauce, lemon preserve, bilimbi extract, coconut hair oil, rosemary hair oil, sundried banana and bilimbi, avocado, and coconut blend cooking oil.
SNA recently met with Maria and she shared that the venture started over one and a half years ago, with cider vinegar being the first product to come to fruition.
She said that despite the business being in its early years, there is great demand from both the local and international markets. Currently, with the couple being the only employees, Koko Sey‘s products are only available at the STC hypermarket, SPAR, Fish Tech – both at Anse Royale and in Victoria – as well as the airport duty-free and Temoljee.
|The venture also produces coconut hair oil and rosemary hair oil sprays. Photo License: All Rights Reserved|
“I’ve had interest from abroad with people asking about how they can obtain the products. I also want to export the products. As a country, we need to put our stamp on the international markets, which we’re not doing it. Being a cottage-sized business, Koko Sey cannot provide this amount, and as such it is imperative that I get a space to expand the business. I believe that we do need forex from other sectors in the country,” said Stevens.
She went on to share that nowadays, more people are becoming interested in organic products “as they want to know what’s going into their body, and what is in the products that they consume.”
“There is a demand for such products. As a country, we need to put our stamp on the international markets, which we’re currently not doing,” said Maria.
The owners of the venture are seeking the assistance of the government to acquire a piece of land on which they can build a production line that will also have an area to grow some fruits. Koko Sey is currently acquiring a portion of the fruits used in the products from the couple’s garden, with the bulk coming from local farms.
“I wish also to have a cafe next to it so that locals and tourists can come in and taste the products and understand how it works. It will operate like a one-stop shop,” said Maria.
Koko Sey is also liaising with the Seychelles Bureau of Standards (SBS), which already tests the products to ensure standards are met, to see if there is the possibility to widen the tests carried out to meet international norms.
Talking about the birth of the venture, she said that as a person she enjoys watching programmes related to food consumption and this brought her to dabbling into condiment production.
“I began doing things to use at home and after a while, giving it to family to try. From the good feedback, I understood there was something there. My husband and I sat down and discussed if we can make a business out of this,” said Maria.