Our CEO Sophi Tranchell visited Ghana in 2013 for Kuapa Kokoo’s 19th Annual General Meeting (AGM), held at the Department of Law buildings at KNUST University in Kumasi. Read on below to learn more about her experience, as written by Sophi.
This is the 15th AGM of Kuapa Kokoo that I have attended. It is always an inspiration to be present at such an important event, and it is Divine Chocolate’s opportunity to report to the farmer owners on how their company is doing.
This is what makes Kuapa special and unique: every year 350 cocoa farmers, women and men, gather from the 57 districts where Kuapa operates and decide how their organisation is run, what their priorities are, and how the money is spent.
Amending a constitution of an organisation is always a difficult business, but Kuapa did an impressive job of getting all the delegates present to understand & discuss the issues. They had grouped the amendments into subjects like gender representation or the replacement of officers who had died in service or been removed.
They divided everyone into 10 groups, and each group spent 20 minutes on each subject with a group leader who was well briefed. After the 5 discussions, everyone came back for the plenary session where each separate amendment was presented. The more controversial ones were discussed and finally voted on.
After a tasty lunch of fufu* or chicken and jollof rice, there was a report distributed on how the Fairtrade Premiums had been spent and what the budget would be for the next year. Appiah Kwarteng (NEC member) made the presentation, patiently going through every line. The farmer incentives and social investment had been made into a bar chart made up of stacks of cocoa sacks so that everyone present had a clear impression of the relative investment being made in each area. It was announced that the per sack bonus for next year would be three Ghana cedis. The delegates were not satisfied. After some noisy contributions from the floor and some delicate negotiations, it was finally decided that next year’s bonus would be four Ghana cedis per sack. This really was democracy in action.
*Fufu is a staple food common in many countries in West Africa such as Cote D'Ivoire, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Liberia, Togo and Nigeria. It is often made in the traditional Ghanaian and Nigerian method by mixing and pounding separate equal portions of cassava and green plantain flour thoroughly with water.