Owned by cocoa farmers. Made for chocolate lovers.
Divine Chocolate is co-owned by the 85,000 farmer members of Kuapa Kokoo, the cooperative in Ghana that supplies the cocoa for each bar of Divine. As owners, they get a share in the profits, a say in the company, and a voice in the global marketplace.
In autumn 1998, Divine, the first ever Fairtrade chocolate bar aimed at the mass market was launched onto the UK confectionery market. In an exciting new business model, the co-operative of cocoa farmers in Ghana own shares in the company making the chocolate bar. Two farmers' representatives came to London to celebrate at the most Divine launch party in town. Here's how it all happened . . . .
A women farmer in Ghana
“Those who impact positively on the lives of others shall forever live in the memory of the heart."
Getting it Together
In the early 1990's, the structural adjustment program involved the liberalization of the cocoa market in Ghana. A number of leading farmers, including a visionary farmer representative on the Ghana Cocoa Board, Nana Frimpong Abrebrese, came to realize that they had the opportunity to organize farmers, to take on the internal marketing function. This would mean that they could set up a company, to sell their own cocoa to the Cocoa Marketing Company (CMC), the state-owned company that would continue to be the single exporter of Ghana cocoa.
These farmers pooled resources to set up Kuapa Kokoo, a farmers' co-op, which would trade its own cocoa, and thus manage the selling process more efficiently than the government cocoa agents. Kuapa Kokoo - which means good cocoa growers - has a mission to empower farmers in their efforts to gain a dignified livelihood, to increase women's participation in all of Kuapa's activities, and to develop environmentally friendly cultivation of cocoa. The farmers who set up Kuapa Kokoo, were supported by Twin Trading, the fair trade company that puts the coffee into Cafédirect and SNV a Dutch NGO.
After seeing the benefits Kuapa gains for its members, more and more farmers want to join and the association now has upwards of 65,000 members organised in approximately 1400 village societies.
Pa Pa Paa - The Best of the Best
Cocoa from Ghana is of a high quality and trades at a premium on the world market. Kuapa Kokoo's motto is pa pa paa - which means the best of the best in the local Twi language. Kuapa's premium quality cocoa is now sold to chocolate companies around the world.
A Chocolate of One's Own
The cocoa farmers, who were already getting a Fairtrade price from some international customers, voted at their 1997 AGM to invest in a chocolate bar of their own. They decided that rather than aiming for the niche market where most Fairtrade products were placed, they would aim to produce a mainstream chocolate bar to compete with other major brands in UK.
Divine Fairtrade milk chocolate, made from Kuapa's best of the best fairly traded cocoa beans was launched in October 1998 and by Christmas 1998, had made it onto the supermarket shelves . . .
A first for Fairtrade
The farmers' ownership stake in The Day Chocolate Company a first in the fair trade world, means that Kuapa Kokoo has a meaningful input into decisions about how Divine is produced and sold. Two representatives from Kuapa Kokoo are Directors on the company's Board, and one out of four Board Meetings every year is held in Ghana. As shareholders, the farmers also receive a share of the profits from the sale of Divine. This innovative company structure was recognized when Divine was awarded Millennium Product status.
Beans mean Business
In a ferociously competitive global chocolate market, being the new bar on the block can be a daunting prospect. But as so many people adore delicious chocolate, the potential for Divine's success is huge. There are hundreds of chocolate brands available in the US, and the biggest companies spend up to 10% of their profit margins - tens of millions of dollars - in their fight to retain their brands' positions in the Chocolate Top Ten.
Divine has been developed to appeal to the public's palate, and it tests favorably against all the market leaders. The US has one of the highest per capita levels of consumption of chocolate in the world and therefore, even capturing a small proportion of this market translates into real benefits for cocoa farmers.