Balmore Coach House customers were surprised to meet African cocoa growers whose beans supply the
powder for Divine Chocolate.
Isaac Baidoo and Lydia Agyei are both members of an 80,000 strong cocoa farmers co-operative in Ghana which has transformed the chocolate market in the UK and beyond since 1990.
The co-operative, Kuapa Kokoo, was set up to manage sales of cocoa from farmers to the Ghanaian Government.
This way the farmers have control over their products and their earnings and can grow their businesses.
Lydia and Isaac work as recorders, checking in the beans from the farmers, assuring that the quality is good and keeping accurate records of what each farmer has supplied.
This means they can trace which beans are sold to the Fairtrade market and ensure that the farmers receive the Fairtrade premium which allows them to develop their communities.
Balmore Coach House and Trust chairman John Riches said: “Accurate recording of sales with scales is crucial to the farmers getting a fair return for their work.
“Other buyers cheat farmers by using dodgy scales. And the Fairtrade premium is used to help their own communities to develop - the money goes to improve water supplies, schools and to provide mobile clinics.”
Lydia said: “Without the clinics farmers in some parts of the country might have to travel many dozens of miles to get any assistance. And for Isaac, getting a fair return for his cocoa meant that he could afford to get married!”
Divine Chocolate has established itself as a top of the range fine chocolate with a new company recently set up in the USA.
Fairtrade chocolate now represents 11 per cent of total UK sales of chocolate.
FAIR TRADERS: farmers Lydia Adjei, Issac Baidoo with Angela Oakley and John Richies.