Christiana Ohene Agyare has been elected as President of the Kuapa Kokoo Farmers’ Union (KKFU) at the cooperative’s AGM attended by 2,600 delegates in Kumasi, Ghana this month. Ms Ohene Agyare is the first woman President of the Kuapa Kokoo, which is the major shareholder in Divine Chocolate Ltd (UK) and Divine Chocolate Inc (USA). She will be heading up an organisation which this year bought 28,000 tonnes of cocoa from its members, and turned over nearly $50 million across the whole Kuapa Kokoo group.
Ms Ohene Agyare, a cocoa farmer with an 11 acre farm, served as Treasurer for the last 4 years and as Recorder in her village society. Her election is a testament to the Co-operative’s long term commitment to gender equality. Since its inception in 1993 Kuapa has required women’s participation at every level of the organisation, from village societies through to the National Executive.
Ms Ohene Agyare ran a dynamic election campaign, travelling round the cocoa growing regions of Ghana speaking at hustings and mobilizing the membership. Her election slogan was “Experience, transparent, hardworking, caring and trustworthy.”
Sophi Tranchell, Managing Director of Divine Chocolate Ltd, who attended the AGM, said: “Ayekoo! We congratulate Christiana on her election as the first woman President of Kuapa Kokoo Farmers’ Union and very much look forward to working closely with her in growing Divine, Kuapa’s chocolate company. We would also like to thank Mr Buah and the outgoing members of the NEC who have worked diligently for last 4 years, listening to the membership, introducing a new constitution and leading Kuapa through a challenging period., and for Mr Buah’s welcome influence on Divine business”
Tranchell continues: “Christiana is a great example of increasing numbers of women now taking responsible and senior roles within this thriving cooperative.
She has visited the UK as the guest of The Co-operative retail group who converted all their own label chocolate to Fairtrade in 2002 supplied by Divine using Kuapa’s cocoa. She is one of several Kuapa Kokoo women representatives who have travelled outside Ghana – to both UK and USA. As ambassadors of Kuapa Kokoo and of Divine they have inspired and engaged chocolate lovers, activists, leading business people and top politicians, describing the lives of cocoa farmers and the changes they have seen in their communities. In turn they have learned much more about the chocolate market and the industry they are a part of. Empowering both farmers and consumers, as well as delivering profit to Kuapa is what sets Divine apart from its chocolate brand competitors.
The voting and counting took place publically at the AGM watched by 2500 farmers, the candidates having previously taken their hustings to all the member societies across all the cocoa growing regions of Ghana. Christina is one of five women amongst the eleven elected members of Kuapa’s National Executive. She succeeds Mr. P. C. K. Buah as President and her tenure runs from 2010 to 2014.