Ghanaian cocoa farmers visit Warrington for Fairtrade Fortnight 2011

Warrington's Fairtrade shop, Fair 4 All worked closley with Divine Chocolate, the chocolate company owned by cocoa farmers, planning a special programme of events in Warrington on Thursday 3rd March to celebrate Fairtrade Fortnight.

Harriet Boatemaa and Fatima Ali visitied Warrington as ambassadors of the 45,000 strong co-operative, sharing their personal stories on life in a cocoa farming community as well as explaining the unique story of how their co-operative came to own a 45% share of Divine Chocolate - and the benefits and opportunities available to women because of this unique trading partnership.

After a session in the recording studio for Radio Merseyside’s Sunday Worship programme, the farmers visitied Bewsey Lodge Primary School to speak to pupils. Then talked to pupils at Birchwood Secondary School before spending a couple of hours at Fair 4 All, Retail Market, Bank Street. This event was attended by local churches, staff and volunteers at Fair 4 All shop along with many shoppers in the market, who all enjoyed sampling Devine chocolate and learning more about the work that goes into growing cocoa.

Before the farmers in Fatima's co-operative sold their cocoa to a Fairtrade company, she had to walk one and a half miles to collect water. Now her village has water, schooling and many other benefits. Fairtrade is helping to change millions of lives in some of the poorest countries in the world and we can all be involved, just by choosing products with the Fairtrade Mark when we go shopping. Said Hillary Thompson from Fair 4 All.

As women are both a force behind the chocolate, and a big percentage of the chocolate lovers who choose Divine, the company was also pleased to be acknowledging 100 years of International Women’s Day.

Divine gave a chocolate prize to the winner of the Warrington round of the “Divine Women” awards – nominated by the local community for the tangible positive change they’ve made happen in the local area. Warrington's "Divine Woman" award was presented to Mrs. Eleanor Kunar in recognition of her work in the community.

Divine is the heavenly chocolate with a heart and is made using only the very finest cocoa beans. Farmers who belong to Kuapa Kokoo take their slogan ‘Pa pa paa’ (which means ‘best of the best’) very seriously.

Divine Chocolate Ltd is the only Fairtrade chocolate company that is also co-owned by cocoa farmers. Kuapa Kokoo, a co-operative of 45,000 cocoa farmers in Ghana, benefit not only from the Fairtrade premium on the sale of their beans, but also receive a 45% share of Divine’s distributable profits giving the farmers more economic stability, as well as the increased influence in the cocoa industry company-ownership brings

The UK chocolate market alone is worth approximately £3.76 billion a year (Mintel, 2010): if Fairtrade products can capture even a small proportion of that market, producers in developing countries gain real benefits.

Everything you need to know about Divine: