Sustainability

US chocolate for good: companies launch impact programme for female cocoa farmers in Ghana

By Anthony Myers

- Last updated on GMT

Seattle Chocolate Owner & CEO Jean Thompson and Brand Manager Ellie Thompson enjoy ceremonial festivities in Takyikrom, Ghana. Pic: Seattle Chocolate
Seattle Chocolate Owner & CEO Jean Thompson and Brand Manager Ellie Thompson enjoy ceremonial festivities in Takyikrom, Ghana. Pic: Seattle Chocolate

Related tags Cocoa Chocolate Ghana Sustainability

A new impact investment partnership, ‘Women for Chocolate,’ has launched in Ghana to ensure the success of women cocoa farmers.

The collaboration between Seattle Chocolate Company, Specialty Cocoa & Chocolate Associates, African Cocoa Marketplace, Three Mountains Cocoa, and Rikolto Ghana has brought a new level of support for the country’s female cocoa farmers.

Steered by Seattle Chocolate’s “women-powered” ethos and support for women and girls locally and globally, its driving force was behind the collaboration - and its successful first phase has now led to a second round of impact investment.

In the start-up phase, Specialty Cocoa & Chocolate Associates worked with Seattle Chocolate to strategize the company’s first impact investment in West Africa. Increased access to water and improved planting materials were identified as top priorities.

New start-up African Cocoa Marketplace then led project implementation with Cocoa Mmaa and Three Mountains Cocoa cooperatives.

Impact investments

Earlier this year, Seattle Chocolate Owner & CEO Jean Thompson and Brand Manager Ellie Thompson visited Ghana to see the results of these impact investments in the Three Mountains community of Takyikrom in Ashanti region, which included a refurbished borehole, a new borehole, and a new seedling nursery.

Thompson said: “It was a long journey from Seattle to the Three Mountains Cocoa cooperative and it enabled us to better understand the challenges farmers face operating in such remote locations.

“It was an honour to be there with the entire community to christen the new well and seedling nursery. Being there and speaking with the farmers, we could really feel the immense impact these investments will make in their lives every day.

“It was so gratifying to use some of the profits from the sale of chocolate in the USA to help the hard-working farmers in Ghana.”

Second phase

For the second phase, Seattle Chocolate is co-funding an innovative capacity-building partnership with Rikolto Ghana.

This phase builds upon Rikolto’s ongoing cocoa programme in Ghana, which is supported by the Belgian Directorate-General for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid (DGD).

Women for Chocolate will be carried out in collaboration with Three Mountains Cocoa and their farmer groups. A special emphasis will be placed on assisting widows and other financially disadvantaged people with skills to help them prosper.

Three Mountains Cocoa Founder Leslie Agyare said: “Hosting chocolate makers from Seattle here in Ghana, we were able to share the firsthand realities of cocoa cultivation and the challenges farmers face.

“The community's appreciation for the new borehole and seedling nursery, with ceremony and song, showcased the positive reciprocal impact of these investments.”

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