My name is Asamoah Ampofo. I became a member of Kuapa Kokoo in 2003 and I am currently a Recorder for the Amenase Society. Before joining Kuapa, I was selling my cocoa to other local buying companies who were just interested in buying the cocoa.
Kuapa Kokoo is however different. I realise that I receive a lot of bonuses on the cocoa I sell and through this I have been able to adequately take care of my wife and children. Again, Kuapa has on several occasions provided me as well as other farmers in my society with farming equipment like cutlasses to help us in our work. Every year I receive some commission for selling my cocoa to them and this has also gone a long way to equip me financially.
The Amenase society is made up of over two hundred cocoa farmers with more than half of the number being women. Together, we are able to sell more than 500 bags of cocoa for Kuapa and Fair trade every year. We are currently making efforts to increase our annual supply of cocoa and women within the society are encouraged to contribute and make inputs in discussions on issues.
What I admire most about Kuapa is the democracy. For once, cocoa farmers in this country have the opportunity to contribute to issues affecting them and collectively find solutions. At the just ended 15th Annual General Meeting we were provided with free medical screening and educated on the need to avoid child labour in our various communities. This goes a long way to prove the point I was making earlier that Kuapa, unlike the others, is not just interested in buying the cocoa from us but are also concerned about our welfare and that of our communities as well.
As the recorder for my society, I have also made it a point to reiterate the message on child labour to other farmers in my region. I advice them that it is not wrong to let the children help in the farm but rather, it is wrong to allow them work more than they should. The work should not interfere with their children's education.
I am very grateful to Kuapa and Fairtrade for giving cocoa farmers a voice and for making our families financially independent. What is more refreshing is that, we own a 45% share in Divine Chocolate in the United Kingdom. That gives us a lot of joy and fulfillment.