About Kuapa Kokoo
Formed in 1993 with 2,000 cocoa farmers, Kuapa Kokoo’s vision was to ensure that cocoa farmers had a direct role in the purchasing and the marketing of their product. It became the only farmer-owned cocoa organisation in the country, and have since carved a space as Ghana’s leading producer of ethical cocoa beans. Achieving their Fairtrade certification in 1995 made Kuapa Kokoo the first Fairtrade smallholder farmers’ organization in West Africa, and now represents over 100,000 members. Most of these members are smallholder cocoa farmers, who grow high quality cocoa on farms averaging 6.8 hectares, and nearly half of them are women.
The Impact of Fairtrade
Kuapa Kokoo’s partnership with Fairtrade is helping develop a strong, democratic institutional framework at all levels of the organization. With the additional income from Fairtrade Premium, the co-operative has been able to improve the livelihoods of its members. These Premium projects have been used to invest in the coop’s health and education services, and have been used to support farmers and their communities. These projects have included:
- Provisions for drinking water pumps, latrines, and mosquito nets.
- The launch of mobile health clinics to attend to the medical needs of farmers in over 200 hard-to-reach communities.
- The construction and refurbishing of eight schools, one of which has served the community in Anakum, where children previously had to travel long distances to access school.
- The creation of an income diversification program with relevant training to support farmers (mostly women) to grow alternative crops like yams and cassava to supplement their income during the leaner months between cocoa harvest.
- Providing farmers with their own scales so they can weigh their own beans, which in turn gives farmers more control over the sale of their product.
- The construction of day-care centres.
The Faces of Kuapa Kokoo
Kwaku lives in Koforidua, which is located about 80 km from Ghana’s capital of Accra. Kwaku is a cocoa farmer, a member of Kuapa Kokoo, and has seen the impacts of Fairtrade firsthand. The cocoa he grows yields approximately 80 bags per harvest, which is enough to support and feed his family.
The primary benefit of Fairtrade for me is not only earning more money but to improve the standard of my house and to be able to send my children to school instead of having them working on the farm.Kwaku Siaw
Lucy Manu (left) and Barikisu Adam (right)
Lucy and Barikisu hold up bars of Divine Chocolate. The farmers of Kuapa Kokoo are also co-owners of Divine Chocolate, who make their chocolates entirely from their cocoa.