We source cacao from around the world, yet most of it comes from Ghana, where we work with over 2,500 local farming partners.
Ghanaian farmers who partner with us sign up to a charter dedicated to promoting sustainable and ethical farming practices and community development, with a Know Your Farmer programme that helps us trace where every bean comes from.
We’ve got boots on the ground, using our knowledge and experience as cacao growers to help boost the wellbeing and prosperity of Ghanaian farmers and their communities.
Since 2002, we’ve worked with Green Tropics Group, a local NGO, to support communities in the two cocoa districts of Eastern Region Ghana where we source our cacao, Nkawkaw and Juaso.
Our mission: to empower farmers to provide a better standard of living for themselves and their families, and help improve local health and education with community projects.
We call our approach to ethical, sustainable cacao farming ‘Engaged Ethics’, because we are engaged with every aspect of our cacao supply, from bean to bar, rigorously ensuring 100% ethical cacao.
As our relationships in Ghana have developed, we’ve reached a point where we can step-change our support for farmers and the environment.
In short, we are now able to effectively bring Gentle Farming to the complex, challenging Ghanaian cacao industry.
Ensuring a Living Income for all farming partners
From the harvest of 2022, all our farming partners signed up to the Gentle Farming Charter will receive a Living Income premium, in return for ensuring robust sustainability and ethical farming practices are employed.
Teaching young Ghanaians how to be better farmers
Green Tropics has trained over 285 young people in sustainable farming since 2012. We enrolled a further 65 young farmers onto the scheme in 2020/21, teaching them the best ways to boost their harvests and take care of the environment. We also supply them with free cacao seedlings, boots and machetes.
Improving farmers’ harvests with over a million high-quality cacao seedlings
Good cacao tree varieties can be hard to find in Ghana. So, we supply farmers with high-yield, early-bearing and disease-resistant seedlings grown on own cacao nurseries, and ship them using our own truck. We’ve supplied 1.6 million seedlings since we started in 2002 at highly subsidised prices.
We’ve built three local model farms to teach good farming practices
Farmers in and around the Nkawkaw district can visit and learn how to improve productivity and sustainability on their own farms with good practices on everything from planting, pruning, harvesting to controlling disease. We also use the farms to test new techniques for improving cacao yields, from irrigation to composting to biochar.
Building community projects
We built a medical centre serving over 5,000 people. The people of Osuben used to be 8km from the nearest medical care, often travelling on foot or being carried if they were too sick. In 2015, we built a 100% solar-powered medical centre that treats over 2,000 cases a year – everything from snakebites to malaria to expectant mothers. We also help farmers and their families to cover costs with health insurance.
Digging borewells to give people clean, safe drinking water
Many Ghanaians rely on rivers for their water, which can carry disease. Fetching it also takes hours, often done by children who could be in school. So far, we’ve dug 11 borewells to support local communities and we’re digging more.
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 Cacao 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 address farmers’ concerns about sustainable farming and their welfare.
Nkawkaw Cocoa District, Ghana
Engaged Ethics program since 2002. Gentle Farming Charter – September 2021 onwards will deliver:
• Living Income for all farmers
• Zero Child Labour
• Zero Deforestation
• Increased biodiversity
• Climate change resilience improved
• Worked with Green Tropics NGO since 2002 to identify and address issues
• Since 2002, paying higher than market-rate for crops, with a guarantee to purchase all of every farming partner’s harvest.
• Price per-kilo has increased year on year since 2002.
• Medical facility built in 2015, has so far treated over 2,500 admissions.
• 2 Community radio stations for farmers, funded by Hotel Chocolat.
• Long-term training and education programmes inc. Young Farmers Scheme.
• Community projects focusing on health, education, child labour and women’s empowerment.
Rest Of The World
• We’re engaged in several other countries around the world, including Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Honduras and Nicaragua.
• A blend of direct-sourced, certified and traded cacao, working with people who share our values.
• We only buy cacao from people who share our values: Wherever in the world we buy cacao, we look for people with the same priorities as ours. Using our own experience as cacao 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 cacao from farming cooperatives and organisations that share our ethical outlook in Colombia, Ecuador, Ghana, Honduras and the Dominican Republic.
• Find out more about our Engaged Ethics in Colombia,
Ecuador and Honduras.