Whenever we include an amazing chocolate product in one of our boxes, we like to remind our subscribers all about the health- and mood-boosting qualities of chocolate. Since we’ve touted chocolate’s benefits so often (we put a LOT of chocolate in our boxes, because we LOVE it), we decided that, this time, we would tell you about Divine Chocolate, a company that is co-owned by a group of fair-trade cacao farmers they’ve been working with for more than 20 years. Of the 85,000 farmers in the Kuapa Kokoo Farmers’ Cooperative in Ghana, more than one-third are women, and the co-op’s educational programs are all about encouraging and mentoring women as they learn valuable professional skills.
Here’s the heartwarming story of one of the co-op’s female cacao farmers, Mercy Zaah:
Mercy began cocoa farming in 1986 when she was just 23 years old. Mercy is now married with five children and has a 12-acre farm that harvests, on average, 90 sacks of cocoa each season.
She used to sell her cocoa to the state cocoa-buying company (PBC), but that didn’t work out too well.
“When we sold to the PBC, we didn’t always get paid on time, and we were sometimes cheated at the scales.”
So she joined Kuapa Kokoo in 1999.
“My parents [also cacao farmers] had joined Kuapa Kokoo five years earlier, and I saw a big difference in how they were treated and how their experience was different than mine.”
Unlike with PBC, she says, being part of Kuapa Kokoo offers benefits after a sale is complete.
“We’re given a new machete every year, and Kuapa Kokoo also helps the whole community. We now have clean drinking water from a water pipe. Women in the co-op are trained well, and our new skills help usgenerate more income for our families. We also have a voice in decision-making of the co-op.”
Most importantly to Mercy and her family, besides the fair-trade price she gets for her cacao, she also receives a bonus every year.
“With this bonus, I have paid for all five of my children to be educated. My eldest is now qualifying to be a nurse.”
To find out more about Divine Chocolate, its history, and its important fair-trade mission, please visitwww.divinechocolate.com. While you’re there, check out Divine’s other amazing chocolate flavors, like Mint Dark Chocolate and Dark Chocolate with Raspberries. And don’t miss the “Recipes” section, with tantalizing treats like Divine Chocolate Almond Tart, Italian Fig and Chocolate Ice Cream, and Divine Salted Chocolaate Bacon Manhattan, a decadent cocktail made with rye, vermouth, bitters, salt, bacon, and dark chocolate!