Fairtrade Fortnight 2012: A Celebration Of Nnoboa
Divine Chocolate, the chocolate company owned by cocoa farmers, is once again putting together an exciting programme for Fairtrade Fortnight, which this year runs from Monday 27th February to Sunday 11th March. Two cocoa farmers from Kuapa Kokoo in Ghana will be joining Divine Chocolate on their tour which will take them to London, Manchester, Bradford and Glasgow.
Divine's theme for this year's tour is NNOBOA - the word Kuapa Kokoo farmers use meaning 'working together'. 2012 is also the United Nations International Year of Co-operatives (IYC) so the farmers are also here to celebrate what it is to be a co-operative and to profit from their own chocolate company. The Kuapa Kokoo co-operative is made up of 45,000 farmer members in over 1200 villages across the cocoa growing region of Ghana. To celebrate IYC and Fairtrade Fortnight Elias Mohammed and Agnes Armah will be travelling to the UK to meet with consumers and some of Divine's key customers. They will be sharing their views on Fairtrade and what it's like to belong to a co-operative, as well as talking on life as a cocoa farmer and what owning a chocolate company actually means to them and their community.
Elias, Agnes and Divine staff members will be attending events at two of Divine's wholesale customers - Suma Wholefoods in Halifax on Thursday 8th March and Green City Wholefoods in Glasgow on Monday 5th March. Events open to the public include the famers talking at an event in Reading organised by Reading Fairtrade Group on Friday 2nd March and event at The People's Supermarket in London on Saturday 10th March. Divine's resident chocolatier David Greenwood-Haigh will be hosting a chocolate workshop at St Mary-Le-Bow Church in London on Monday 5th March in honour of Fairtrade Fortnight.
To celebrate International Year of Co-operatives the two farmers will be attending the Co-operative Women's Day on Saturday 3rd March in London, and Divine's MD Sophi Tranchell will be speaking at the Co-operatives Conference on Wednesday 7th March. The farmers also hope to meet a British co-op farmer while they are here to exchange experiences.
Elias Mohammed and Agnes Armah are visiting the UK as ambassadors of the Kuapa Kokoo co-operative. 43 year old Agnes is a cocoa farmer and owns a 10 acre farm in the Western region of Ghana. She is also the elected recorder* of her society and Treasurer of her district. 55 year old Elias is also a cocoa farmer as well as a recorder and has been voted on to the National Executive Committee. Elias and Agnes will be sharing their personal stories about improvements to their villages brought about through Fairtrade and belonging to a co-operative. These include the provision of a borehole to provide clean water, workshops on child labour, and the construction of a toilet block at the local school. Audiences will also hear how Divine's pioneering business model of farmer ownership means an even better deal for farmers and their families.
As a leading Fairtrade brand, Fairtrade Fortnight is a key period during Divine's annual calendar. For the past nine years Divine has arranged for two prominent members of Kuapa Kokoo (the Ghanaian farmers' co-operative which co-owns the company) to visit consumers and decision-makers here in the UK. Each year these tours prove a hugely popular opportunity for people from all walks of life to hear firsthand about farmers' lives. In turn it gives the farmers an insight into our love of chocolate here in Britain and of how many people want to make trade fair.