We are excited to host Christiana and Afriye, two Kuapa Kokoo farmers, as they travel city to city to meet with partners, fair trade supporters, and chocolate lovers alike, to discuss the cooperative model and the impact that fair trade has had on their lives. Follow us and see if we're in a city near you!
Meet Afriye Kwesi Boateng:
Afriye Kwesi Boateng is 63 years old and has been a cocoa farmer for 20 years and a member of Kuapa Kokoo for 10 years. He is from Eastern Region and his society is Anyinase in Akyem Oda District. His farm is 15 acres and he produces about 38 bags of cocoa each year. The farm belonged to his grandmother who left it to him so that he would be better able to care for his four children, 1 boy and 3 girls.
He joined Kuapa Kokoo because it has a reputation for being fair and honest. He was so impressed with how farmers were treated by Kuapa that he decided to stand for election and he served as a district president for several years. "I helped to open so many new societies for Kuapa in my district. There are now 32 village societies and my society is the second largest producing society for Kuapa in the region."
Access to adequate toilet facilities is a real challenge in rural areas and it leads to unhealthy conditions in villages. Afriye worked with the farmers in his society to petition for a new toilet block for the society that was built with money Kuapa Kokoo received from Fairtrade premiums. "Farmers appreciate having the toilets and they then know that Kuapa cares about their well-being".
Though he has never traveled outside of Ghana he is excited to come to the USA and to see the White House where Mr Obama lives.
Meet Christiana Adusei:
Christiana Adusei has been a cocoa farmer for 20 years. She joined Kuapa Kokoo with her husband 11 years ago. She is from Western Region and her society is New Agogo is the Asempanaye district. Her farm is approximately 13 acres and she produces 33 bags per year of cocoa. She has seven children, four boys and three girls and her youngest child is 14. Only one of her children, her 38 year old daughter, is a farmer and she just started farming cocoa with her husband in Central Region.
She joined Kuapa because she heard from other farmers that the organization was democratic and fair and that farmers received bonuses and a cutlass, which is among a cocoa farmers most prized tools.
About eight years ago she started as the secretary to the village recorder, the person who is elected by the village society to purchase its cocoa for Kuapa. She started training farmers to dry and ferment their cocoa properly so that it met Kuapa's standards of good cocoa. "I saw that I was a good teacher and that I could keep good records and I decided that I should become a recorder myself." At the elections she stood against the recorder, a man, and won. "Kuapa trained me that as a woman I could be a recorder and could be a leader in my society." Even though there isn't a women's group in her village she and other women still benefit from regional women's empowerment trainings offered by Kuapa's Gender Program
Cocoa farming is hard and to earn extra income Christiana raises grasscutters, a large rodent that is prized for its delicious high protein meat. Her youngest child is still in school and Christiana wants to help her finish her education so the extra income helps. "I hope she will become a nurse and get a good job so she can help me in the future."
Follow Us On Our Tour:
April 25 - 29: Washington, DC
April 30 - May 1: Media, PA
May 2 - 4 : New York, NY
May 5 - 7: Chicago, Il
May 8 - 10: Seattle, WA
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