Engaged Ethics

We’re helping 1,200+ cocoa farmers in Ghana out of poverty.

We’ve signed up more than 1,200 small-scale farmers to our Engaged Ethics programme. Cocoa is the backbone of Ghana’s economy, but too many cocoa farmers there live in poverty. To help break the cycle, we’ve been helping cocoa farmers in the Nkawkaw cocoa district in Ghana’s Eastern Region since 2002, working with a dedicated local team.

How it works
  • Engaged ‘boots on the ground’ since 2002 with our long-term Ghanaian partners Green Tropics Group, and supported by Nyankopa on cocoa trading and the Cocoa Horizons Foundation on governance.

  • Our objective: empower farmers, and create the conditions to raise them out of poverty, creating favourable conditions for health and education.

  • Long-term partnerships are delivering for farmers:
    • Better Prices
    • Stable Trading

  • Improved productivity – helping farmers to grow more, more efficiently

  • Community projects focusing on health, education, child labour and women’s empowerment
What we’ve achieved so far
  • Clean Water Projects: 5 boreholes sunk, 3 more scheduled this year

  • Young Farmers Scheme: Helping young people to start up in farming

  • Model Farms and Cocoa Seedling Nurseries: Providing training and plants to farmers

  • Medical Centre: We built Osuben’s first, which now supports 5,000 farmers and their families.

  • Sponsoring and Delivering Radio Shows: Sharing best practices and bringing communities together.

Ghana: Doing the Right Thing

Our medical centre in Ghana now treats 900 cases a year.

Around 5,000 residents of Osuben used to be 8km from the nearest medical care, and often had to get there on foot, or be carried if they were too sick. Now, the 100% solar-powered clinic we built in 2015 treats more than 900 cases a year – everything from expectant mothers and childcare to snake bites, machete cuts and malaria. We also help farmers and their families cover costs with health insurance.

We’re teaching young Ghanaians how to be better farmers.

It can be difficult for aspiring cocoa farmers to even get started. This year, we’ll be training the biggest class yet in our annual Young Farmers Support Scheme. A group of 168 students aged 18–32 will learn how to manage their farms to get the highest cocoa yields. As well as training, we also supply equipment free of charge, from cocoa seedlings to wellington boots and machetes.

We’re drilling borewells to give people clean drinking water.

Around 6 million people in Ghana rely on surface water, like rivers, to meet their daily needs. That makes more than one-fifth of the population vulnerable to waterborne diseases. Fetching water can also take hours to do, too often by children who should be in school. We’ve dug five boreholes that give clean, safe drinking water, and this year we’re digging three more. Money from the water bottles you buy in our stores goes towards our water projects in Ghana.

We’ve supplied 1.5 million cocoa seedlings to Ghanaian farmers

Cocoa tree varieties that give farmers good yields are hard to find in Ghana. Using our own truck, we ship high-quality seedlings to farmers from our six cocoa nurseries: 60,000 supplied so far this year – 1.5 million since we started in 2002.

We’re building model farms to educate farmers and test new ideas.

To improve cocoa farming productivity, we’re planting three model farms in and around the Nkawkaw cocoa district. These will help educate local farmers on best practices for planting, pruning, harvesting, fermenting, drying, using fertilisers and controlling disease. We’ll also use them to test new techniques for improving cocoa yields, from irrigation to composting to biochar.

We’re helping local people build better communities.

As well as improving farmers’ incomes, we’re also investing in community projects in Nkawkaw that improve local services, wellbeing and infrastructure: everything from building a new road to providing a proper toilet for a junior high school.

We’ve even got our own radio shows.

In the UK, we call it Engaged Ethics. In Ghana, we call it ‘Kookoo Kuapon’ – meaning ‘Supremacy in Cocoa Farming’ in Twi, the local dialect of Akan. We sponsor two Kookoo Kuapon radio shows every fortnight. As well as sharing expertise and advice with the help of the Ghana Cocoa Board, the shows raise awareness of issues affecting cocoa farmers and encourage them to engage with us.

We only buy cocoa from people who share our values.

Wherever in the world we buy cocoa, we look for people with the same priorities as ours. Using our own experience as cocoa growers in Saint Lucia, we’re able to cut out the middlemen and forge direct relationships, passing greater benefits to farmers. For our Rare & Vintage range, we source cocoa from farming cooperatives and organisations that share our ethical outlook in Colombia, Ecuador, Ghana, Honduras and the Dominican Republic.