A Divine Cocoa Breakfast
This morning, Ethical Superstore was proud to welcome two of the cocoa famers from the Kuapa Kokoo Fairtrade cocoa cooperative, located in Ghana, West Africa. The cocoa that this co-operative grows, cuts and dries is used to make Divine Chocolate, which is certainly more than enough to make all of us sit up and pay attention.
The name ‘Kuapa Kokoo’ means ‘The Good Cocoa Farmers Company’. It’s a bit of a tongue twister in Ghanaian, but it has a good ring to it, and is certainly evocative of the faraway country from where the cocoa originates. It’s a name to be conjured with, and a name which is synonymous with Fairtrade success, as the stories of Mr Anane Mensah and Mr James Adiyiah told us first hand.
Anane’s and James’ roles in the co-operative are important ones. They are both Recorders, charged with the task of weighing and recording the amount of cocoa which is farmed and processed to be sold. Being responsible for the amount each farmer is paid is a large responsibility, and through this job they have both gained a respected place and influence in the Kuapa Kokoo community.
It was a wonderful experience to hear firsthand exactly how Fairtrade has positively impacted upon their lives. There is no longer a need to walk up to 15 miles with 64kg sacks of cocoa beans in search of a good price, as each farmer is guaranteed a fair price within the cooperative; and for every farmer within the cooperative to receive the basic tools that they need as a result of the Fairtrade Premium they receive is great news.
However, the benefits are even further reaching than this. Fairtrade is an investment throughout the community, and the positive results are felt by everybody. Commerce, local industry and women’s empowerment is encouraged, and families who are earning a fairer wage can afford to send their children to school and perhaps also university, as a direct result of Fairtrade ideals. Kuapa Kokoo doesn’t just guarantee the farmers a fair price however – the cooperative actually owns 45% of Divine Chocolate, which gives them a sense of ownership as well as actual business empowerment.
After hearing the Kuapa Kokoo farmers’ story we took them into the Ethical Superstore warehouse to show them our own stash of Divine, ready and waiting to be sent out to chocolate enthusiasts around the country not to mention further afield. The story was then complete, and this morning’s whistlestop tour had covered Divine Chocolate right from cocoa pod to distribution.
Meeting the Kuapa Kokoo farmers was an education – the kind of education which leaves you wanting to know more. It’s fabulous to hear from the grassroots exactly how much good Fairtrade really does, and it’s good to be able to do out bit, right down to giving the guys a wind-up lantern and a Freeplay radio each, as their village is unfortunately still without electricity.
There is still a long way for the Fairtrade movement to go, and still work to be done in the communities which are feeling some of the benefits already, but the great news is that it is extremely easy for each and every one of us to support the farmers of Kuapa Kokoo – tuck into a Divine Chocolate treat today and you too are doing your bit!