Green Festival Speakers

Kokoo Kuapa

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www.kuapakokoogh.com

Kuapa Kokoo was set up with the help of UK NGO Twin Trading, starting with 22 villages and 200 farmers.

Its mission is to empower its members, increase their income level and raise their standard of living. Central to achieving this goal is Kuapa Kokoo's belief in democracy, advocacy, transparency, selfreliance and essentially a cooperative model. Pa pa paa! is their slogan. In Twi, the local language, it means 'best of the best' and can be heard in growers' songs and as a greeting between them. Kuapa Kokoo is made up of a Union to which all the growers, who now number 48,854, belong, each with their own passports to record their membership and the amount of cocoa they deliver.

There are then four other sections to Kuapa Kokoo under the Union's umbrella:

• Kuapa Kokoo Limited the cocoa buying company
• Kuapa Kokoo Farmers' Trust which manages Fairtrade funds and projects for the village societies
• Kuapa Kokoo Credit Union which offers growers much needed and previously unobtainable credit facilities
• The unique UK arm The Day Chocolate Company of which Kuapa owns a third and which produces Divine and Dubble
chocolate, as well as the Coop range of Fairtrade chocolate.

According to a recent report from AntiSlavery International: 'Without giving an absolute guarantee that slavery could never occur, it is very unlikely that someone could be a member of a cooperative such as Kuapa Kokoo and be able to consistently use forced labour on the farm. The democratic structure of the organization should ensure that other members locally all live up to the centrallyagreed standards, because they can see the benefits.

The benefits of Fairtrade to Kuapa Kokoo and its 48,854 grower members are significant; from the secure and guaranteed fair price they receive for their cocoa beans to the knowledge they have gained of the international chocolate market. The extra money earned from Fairtrade sales is invested back into the community, into projects such as water supplies, latrines, crop improvement, gender relations and education.