Northampton Hears About Fair Trade CocoaThe latest edition of the newsletter our mayor sends out periodically was in my email today. After detailing Northampton's budget woes, the newsletter mentioned a visit to the mayor on Valentine's Day by Cecilia Appianim (pdf), a cocoa farmer from the village of Asentem in central Ghana.
Appianim was accompanied by Niki Lagos, sales and marketing associate of Divine Chocolate, a farmer-owned fair trade chocolate company. A major portion of the ownership of Divine Chocolate is held by the Kuapa Kokoo Society, a cooperative of 45,000 Ghanaian cocoa farmers, including Appianim, founded in 1993.
Appianim is Kuapa Kokoo's recorder in her village, which means she is responsible for collecting farmers' dried cocoa beans, checking that the beans meet quality standards, weighing them, arranging transport to storage and market points, and receiving and disbursing the farmers' payment for their beans. You can read more about Kuapa Kokoo here.
In January, Reuters prepared a report on Kuapa Kokoo, which you can watch in the video below.
Note that the benefits of membership in the Kuapa Kokoo cooperative include training for farmers and, as one result of enhanced income, higher school attendance rates for farmers' children.