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Kuapa Kokoo means ‘good cocoa farmer’ in the Twi language of Ghana. Their motto is ‘Pa Pa Paa’ which means ‘best of the best’ in Twi.
Kuapa Kokoo was founded in 1993 following the liberalisation of the cocoa market in Ghana, and became Fairtrade Certified in 1996. By setting up their own company, Kuapa Kokoo farmer members have been able to trade directly with the state-run cocoa board which controls all cocoa exports. It is the only farmer-owned organisation among the private companies granted government licences to trade cocoa.
Kuapa Kokoo is an umbrella cooperative. Farmers are members of village societies which sell their cocoa through the trading arm of Kuapa Kokoo to the government cocoa board. Members are predominantly smallholders living in remote parts of the country. The average farm is four hectares with around three hectares under cocoa, which accounts for virtually 100% of the farmers’ cash income.
Some farmers grow plantain, coco yam, cassava and vegetables for home consumption and plantain and oranges for sale at local markets. But the soil in many cocoa farms is too poor to grow vegetables and other food crops so they must be bought in at extra cost.
Kuapa Kokoo is able to improve the lives of its members by ensuring reliable and prompt payment. It does this thanks to its own system of community elected Recorders who are responsibe for keeping the weighing scales accurate, testing cocoa quality, and paying correctly and on time. Kuapa Kokoo also provides training, a credit loan scheme and access to market information, as well as funding community projects from the Fairtrade Premium generated from Fairtrade sales.
The participation of women is actively promoted by Kuapa Kokoo. Women are represented on the regional and national Management Committees. Seminars and workshops have also been introduced to help women develop leadership skills and diversify their income generating opportunities such as soap making using the potash produced from burnt cocoa husks.
Kuapa Kokoo represents almost 50,000 small-scale cocoa growers. Sales to the Fairtrade market have grown from around 3% of total production in 1999 to 12% in 2007. For Kuapa Kokoo’s Fairtrade sales the organisation receives the Fairtrade Minimum Price of US$2,300/tonne (for organic) and $2,000 for conventional beans plus the Fairtrade Premium of US$200/tonne (2012). If the New York price rises above the Fairtrade Minimum Price then they receive the New York price plus the Fairtrade Premium.
Fairtrade Premium funded projects over the last 14 years have included: