I am here in the UK to represent the Kuapa Kokoo Farmers Union on the Board of Divine. Today is the Divine Board meeting here in London, last week was the US Divine Board meeting in Washington DC.
I am a farmer with four acres of cocoa farm and I was elected President of the Kuapa Kokoo Farmers Union on 13th July 2006, having been elected from village to regional level, and then to national level. I was a Recorder for my society in Twifu-Wamaso in the Central region of Ghana.
At the Divine US Board meeting we heard about the challenges of increasing Divine sales in such a big country, and alongside many other chocolate brands. We can see the progress that has been made and the potential the company has to grow.
I am interested in history and I was glad to have the opportunity to see a bit of Washington while I was there with my fellow Board members. We went right to the top of the Monument.
I now look forward to hearing news of the UK operation.
Recently at Kuapa we have been recruiting for the Research and Development department. This is the outreach team that ensures we keep in close contact with all the village societies (over 1200) in the cooperative. Instead of being based in the offices in Kumasi, these people are now based in different regions – so they are closer all the time to the farmers. One of their priorities is teaching farmers better farming skills and practices – to increase productivity and keep their cocoa quality high and disease free. The cocoa particularly suffers from Black Pod – I estimate that up to a third of Ghana’s cocoa is lost to Black Pod each year – so we want farmers to know exactly how to prevent it affecting their crops.
At the AGM later this year, where all the village societies are represented, we will once again be deciding how to invest our Dividend from Divine. Every farmer got a machete last year – this was extremely popular!
posted by Paul Celestine Kofi Buah, President of Kuapa Kokoo Farmers’ Union