Wassa East Cocoa was established in 2009 and incorporated as a cooperative under Ghanian law in 2011. The cooperative comprises of 57 primary societies, with over 3,157 small cocoa producers in West Ghana (Wassa East District), of which 1,134 are female. What is more, over 90% of the farmers are direct landowners.
Farmers use the cooperative as a service center and marketing unit, but, so far, producers sell directly to a single government organization—the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), created in 1947—through Licensed Buying Companies (LBCs), at a price defined by the government. In the 2020 and 2021 production seasons, Wassa East Cocoa’s production volumes were 4,100MT and 6000MT respectively.
The Union was Fairtrade certified since 2012 and has been very much involved in the organization’s initiatives. For instance, through the provision of premiums, the cooperative was able to carry out various activities in line with Fairtrade goals, such as trainings on child labor remediation, children’s rights, and female economic empowerment. Unfortunately, since 2018, the union has been unable to find the budget for re-certification.
Nonetheless, the cooperative continues to support its farmers by providing trainings on good agriculture practices and professionalisation. In addition, it helps with selecting the right approved inputs (e.g., agro-chemicals) and engages in—as well as funds—various community development projects.
Coaching impact :
WASSA has been working towards establishing themselves as an LBC in the Ghana cocoa sector in order to focus on sustainability and self-generating income to fund their operations. Working together we have developed an updated strategic plan, an organizational budget and cashflow in addition to reporting standards. They have conducted a survey with their membership to collect important data and effectively update their membership records. We are currently in process of completing their business plan with will focus on their path to establish themselves as an LBC in the next five years. They are in process of building a depot which they will be able to use to aggregate cocoa and become an aggregator as a first step towards the LBC.