OWNED BY COCOA FARMERS. MADE FOR CHOCOLATE LOVERS.
Divine Chocolate is co-owned by the 85,000 farmer members of Kuapa Kokoo, the cooperative in Ghana that supplies the cocoa for each bar of Divine. As owners, they get a share in the profits, a say in the company, and a voice in the global marketplace.
The only 100% fair trade chocolate company owned by cocoa farmers
Delivering Fair trade premiums to farmers is a good start to enable investment in their livelihoods. For over 15 years Divine has delivered more, contributing a percentage of its gross revenue each year into a Producer Support and Development Fund.
In the early 1990's, the structural adjustment program involved the liberalization of the cocoa market in Ghana. A number of leading farmers, including a visionary farmer representative on the Ghana Cocoa Board, Nana Frimpong Abrebrese, came to realize that they had the opportunity to organize farmers, to take on the internal marketing function. This would mean that they could set up a company, to sell their own cocoa to the Cocoa Marketing Company (CMC), the state-owned company that would continue to be the single exporter of Ghana cocoa.
These farmers pooled resources to set up Kuapa Kokoo, a farmers' co-op, which would trade its own cocoa, and thus manage the selling process more efficiently than the government cocoa agents. Kuapa Kokoo - which means good cocoa growers - has a mission to empower farmers in their efforts to gain a dignified livelihood, to increase women's participation in all of Kuapa's activities, and to develop environmentally friendly cultivation of cocoa. The farmers who set up Kuapa Kokoo, were supported by Twin Trading, the fair trade company that puts the coffee into Cafédirect and SNV a Dutch NGO.
Kuapa Kokoo weighs, bags and transports the cocoa to market and carries out all the necessary legal paperwork for its members. Kuapa strives to ensure that all its activities are transparent, accountable and democratic.
It doesn't cheat the farmers by using inaccurate weighing scales, as other buying agents often do, and because it operates so efficiently, it can pass on the savings to its members. After seeing the benefits Kuapa gains for its members, more and more farmers want to join and the association now has upwards of 65,000 members organized in approximately 1400 village societies.
Women contribute a significant amount of the labor on a cocoa farm, including much of the work related to fermentation and drying of beans – the key stages that ensure product quality.
Despite women’s important contribution, cocoa farming is largely regarded as men’s work, and women have historically had little access to the income from cocoa farming. Divine is working to change that.
Women cocoa farmers are common in Ghana. But they tend to have smaller, less productive farms. Low levels of literacy, due to historic lack of education for girls, makes women less able to participate in training and more susceptible to being cheated.
Kuapa Kokoo has prioritized equal participation and equal access for women since its founding. Women have been learning a range of income-generating skills, and being encouraged to take positions of responsibility throughout the organization.
Divine supports women's training programs. According to a study commissioned by Divine, Kuapa, and Twin on nearly two decades of work with women, here's why:
Equal training for women in cocoa farming practices helps women improve farm productivity and cocoa quality
Advancement of women as recorders (elected buying clerks) provides opportunities to earn additional income
Women who earned extra household income used that money to keep their children, Including girls, in school longer than families in villages where women’s training was not as available
Making women a priority leads women members of Kuapa to be loyal and encourages women to advocate for other women to join the cooperative. Kuapa is viewed as a positive resource for women.
- Facilitating the advancement of women as recorders (elected buying clerks) to provide opportunities to earn additional income
- Ensuring that women’s groups are rolled out across all 58 cocoa farming districts
- Increasing literacy and numeracy training for women to enable them to earn income through other enterprises such as selling vegetables, clothing or baked goods.
Learn more about Divine Chocolate, buy more of their delicious chocolate and browse some amazing recipes on their website: www.divinechocolate.com