Following the liberalisation of Ghana’s cocoa market in the 1990s, Twin worked with a group of visionary farmers to help set up the Kuapa Kokoo cooperative. After just four years, its members voted to launch their own mainstream Fairtrade chocolate bar in the UK. To make this ambitious plan happen, Twin worked with the cooperative to set up The Day Chocolate Company in 1998, named in memory of Twin’s Richard Day and supported by The Body Shop, Christian Aid, Comic Relief and DFID.
By the end of the first year of trading, Divine Fairtrade Milk Chocolate was launched and listed in supermarkets. In 2007, the company was renamed Divine Chocolate after their flagship product, and a subsidiary was launched in the US. Divine has developed a strong brand presence as a farmer-owned, 100% Fairtrade business, and successfully uses storytelling and photos in their marketing to communicate producer impact and connect consumers with producers.
Producer ownership and the PS&D programme
Kuapa Kokoo owns a 45% stake in Divine Chocolate, and Twin a 42.6% share. The remaining shares are held by the development finance organisation Oikocredit. As majority shareholders, Twin and Kuapa have two permanent representatives on Divine’s Board. In addition to shareholder dividends, Divine supports producers by investing 2% of its annual turnover in its Producer Support and Development (PS&D) programme. Twin manages this programme in partnership with Kuapa and Divine, developing projects aligned with the business and development priorities of both organisations.
Divine development blueprint
Twin worked with Divine and Kuapa Kokoo to create a ‘development blueprint’ to meet the unique challenges faced by Kuapa Kokoo and other cocoa farmers, secure the supply of key ingredients for Divine, and enable more cocoa producers to benefit from access to international markets. As Kuapa is one of the world’s largest cocoa producer organisations with approximately 85,000 members, the programme aims at strengthening the organisation overall with a focus on good governance, including inclusive democratic processes and equal representation of women.
Governance: education and awareness campaigns for members on cooperative values, democratic principles and Fairtrade standards, including a weekly radio programme reaching 15,500 farmers; training for newly elected representatives of the national, district and society executive councils; and assisting with recruitment and mentoring of senior managers.
Gender programme: partnership with the Ghanaian Government to design and pilot an adult literacy programme targeted at women members; training on business, agricultural and leadership skills; promoting meaningful representation of women at all management levels; growing female membership; and gender assessments conducted to better understand the role of women in cocoa production
Business Management: designing a new database to maintain information about Kuapa’s membership and the movement of cocoa from village-level societies to district depots; development of business plans and key operational manuals and data management systems, including finance, HR and accounting policies
Model farms: demonstration plots where lead farmers are trialling production models to demonstrate impact on tree health, labour, input costs, yields and income.
Labour rights: undertaking a comprehensive study to understand the use of wage workers and rolling out a tenant farmer contract system to ensure tenant farmers meet the same standards as landowners.
Reach: 85,000 smallholder farmer members of Kuapa Kokoo, plus cocoa farmers in Uganda, and sugar farmers in Malawi