Devine Chocolate: The UK & American Based Brand Partly Owned By Ghanaian Farmers

Devine Chocolate. Photo credit: Nourishing Army/Twitter

About 100,000 Ghanaian Cocoa farmers are proud owners of a fast-selling chocolate brand in the United Kingdom and parts of the United States of America.

The Devine Chocoloate, is partly owned by a group of Ghanaian farmers who benefit from 40% of the company’s profits.

In the early 1990s, structural changes in the cocoa market in Ghana prompted Nana Frimpong Abebrese to begin creating a farmer-owned company to help farmers sell their own cocoa.

Nana was a visionary farmer representative and independent representative of COCOBOD (a Ghanaian government-controlled institution that fixes the buying price for cocoa in Ghana).

With the support of Twin Trading, a fairtrade company aiming to support cocoa farmers, Nana and a group of other farmers found ways to ensure the net gains of the company would belong to farmers, farmers could be paid in cash, and fair trade premiums could be invested in social programs.

In 1998 Twin Trading and Kuapa Kokoo launch The Day Chocolate Company in the UK. It is named in memory of Richard Day, a key member of the team at Twin which helped Kuapa Kokoo develop its organisation.

The Day Chocolate Company received enthusiastic support from The Body Shop, Comic Relief, Christian Aid and the Department for International Development in the UK. Kuapa initially own 33% of the shares of the company.

That same year, The Day Chocolate Company launched its first chocolate bar. The brand name Divine is created, and the first bar is “Divine Fairtrade Milk Chocolate.” Several months later, the bar can be found on supermarket shelves across the UK.

One of the original Day Chocolate founders, The Body Shop in 2006, donated its shares in the company to the members of Kuapa Kokoo, after being bought by L’Oreal. This donation gave the farmers’ co-operative an even bigger stake: 45% of the company.

In 2006, Divine Chocolate turns a profit for the first time. As a result, Sandy Balfour, the then Chairman of Divine, is able to hand over the first dividend cheque to Kuapa Kokoo at its Annual General Meeting in 2007. It was a great moment in chocolate history and a big step towards achieving Divine’s mission.

Devine Chocolate is quickly becoming one of the favourite chocolate brands.

Source:||Devine Chocolate

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