9 July 2009
Mr PCK Buah, President of Kuapa Kokoo Farmers Union
We are here in London again for Board meetings – for Divine USA and Divine UK – along with all the other Board members. This morning we were interviewed for a feature in the Greenbelt festival magazine. We got talking about the impact of the global ‘credit crunch’ both in Ghana and here in the UK. For Kuapa Kokoo one of the big issues is the impact on interest rates – paying huge interest rates is having a significant effect on our profitability – and for the farmers, fuel, transport and food costs are all increasing. Here in UK it is also clear living costs are going up for everyone and people are cutting out non-essentials. We hope people still buy their favourite Divine chocolate – it is a little treat – but a very special one. It is the chocolate company we at Kuapa own, and if you buy it here, it is good news for farmers who are suffering rising costs too. And how can you resist! Mr Buah and myself like the Dark Divine best – because it’s got more of our pa pa paa cocoa in than all the others!
Mr K Aduse-Poku, Managing Director of Kuapa Kokoo Ltd
Mr PCK Buah and Mr K Aduse-Poku
3 July 2009
Christiana Ohene-Agyare, Kuapa farmer and National Executive member
Hello, my name is Christiana Ohene-Agyare. I am the recorder of Kwabeng Kuapa Kokoo Society and the National Treasurer of the Union.
Being a member of Kuapa Kokoo has taught me that whatever a man can do, a woman can also do and even better. The position of recorder is traditionally seen as a job for men but I realized I could perform that job better than the men and so I contested for it and won about 80% of the votes!
I have been appointed chairperson of the planning committee to organize this year’s Annual General Meeting which will be held on the 29th and 30th of July. This is a very big task but i am up to it! The AGM is the biggest event on the Kuapa Kokoo calendar! Over 2400 representatives from the various societies will be attending. We will also get the chance to decide on various projects for the coming year.
I must say that I have enjoyed a lot of benefits from Kuapa Kokoo and Fairtrade: Today, I am better able to look after my family- my two children are all in school. My daughter is in her final year at the Takoradi Polytechnic persuing a course in marketing. My son is also at the University of Science and Technology. I was able to put them in school because my income level has improved over the years.
My village Kwabeng also has a borehole that was built with Fairtrade funds. We do not have to walk long distance to fetch water anymore… there is clean portable water in the heart of the village.
I particularly like being a member of Kuapa Kokoo because it is very democratic. Every farmer is able to contribute their ideas when we have meetings. In Ghana, farmers are normally not consulted before decisions affecting us are taken. They just assume that farmer would like one thing or the other. Most of the time policy makers get it wrong! Kuapa Kokoo however, offers farmers an opportunity to decide for ourselves.
I am very proud to be a member of a cooperative that co-owns Divine Chocolate. Two members from Kuapa sit on their board. It is unique! I do not know any other organization in the world that has this kind of business relationship. People all over the world know Kuapa Kokoo because we co-own Divine and we are very proud of our chocolate company. I wish to entreat more people to buy Divine!
28 April 2009
Mr Buah at the Divine offices for the April Board meeting
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.
Mr Buah speaking at the 2008 Kuapa Kokoo AGM in Ghana
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