In 2015, we began supporting an intensive program in two Kuapa districts in the Western Region, where most of Ghana’s cocoa is grown. The aim was to make an impact on farmer livelihoods by increasing the yield and quality of the cocoa, to support good governance so everyone has a say and shares benefits, and to ensure women’s participation. The work has been jointly funded by CORIP (Cocoa Rehabilitation and Intensification Programme).
Training Lead Farmers
Two Rural Service Centers in Dadieso and Wasa Akropong were established. They were selected as model societies for these Service Centres as they have a high percentage of Kuapa membership and active women’s groups. The team renovated old buildings, providing internal fixtures, staff, and office systems.
Initially, each center offered cost-price fertilizers, pesticides, farm tools, and equipment. Then, in 2016, the centers expanded these services to include spraying and pruning services and cocoa seedlings, often directly delivered to the farm.
An agricultural extension team of 90 Lead Farmers (34 women) have been trained and continue to train others in good agricultural practices. The Lead Farmer has a book which the farmers sign once they have visited the farm and been trained. As of September 2017, the Lead Farmers trained 462 other farmers (162 women) in the two districts.
Land Rights and Ownership
Many smallholder farming families around the world do not hold formal rights to their land. This means they often lack access to the technical and financial services they need to improve their livelihoods. Divine has supported Landmapp, a mobile platform to provide rural communities with affordable land rights documentation, helping farmers to establish their land rights and preventing possible disputes.
Mapping the land also provides useful data to the co-op, enabling Kuapa Kokoo to deliver improved services to its members. As of September 2017, 1,807 farms have been mapped in the two districts of Dadieso and Wasa Akropong with 1,062 farmers choosing to purchase land titles.
In addition to the two income streams farmers receive that are connected to Fairtrade (minimum price & a premium) and the dividends Kuapa Kokoo receives from co-ownership, 2% of Divine’s annual turnover is invested in a Producer Support and Development fund (PS&D). This directly funds specific Kuapa projects, with a proportion also going towards projects with farmers in other areas of Africa. These initiatives are aligned with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and include projects such as delivering training, helping with governance, and promoting gender equality and land rights.
The PS&D program is delivered in association with Divine’s partner Twin, a major shareholder and founder of Divine Chocolate Ltd. Twin is a pioneer and leader of the fair trade movement, working to build better lives for the poorest and most marginalized in the trading chain.