The following are three different case studies of women producers.
1. The Kuapa Kokoo Cooperative, Ghana
The Kuapa Kokoo cocoa cooperative in Ghana buys cocoa from its members for onward export and sale through the Ghana Cocoa Marketing Company (CMC). It has a membership of 45,000 farmers in 890 villages, of whom 70 per cent are smallholders and 30 per cent are women. The cooperative was established in 1993, with the assistance of Twin Trading, UK and the Netherlands development organisation, SNV, in response to the partial liberalisation of the cocoa sector, and has grown very rapidly from its original membership base of 2,000 farmers.
In 2003, the output of this cooperative was 38,700 tonnes which represented about 8 percent of total world sales of cocoa. Of the total output, about 3 per cent is separated and tagged for the fair trade market which guarantees a ‘floor’ price per tonne and a ‘premium’ of US $150 per tonne for investment in community projects which meet women’s priority needs in their every day lives. In addition, Kuapa Kokoo members own the Day Chocolate Company in the UK which moved producers up the global value chain from production to retailing.
The case study shows how smallholders were helped to seize the opportunities which rose following the partial liberalisation of the Ghana Cocoa Board (Cocobod) and were thus able to take control of their own livelihoods.
2. Virgin Coconut Oil Cooperatives, Samoa
In Samoa a local NGO, Women in Business Development Incorporated (WIBDI), has introduced an improved production technology to 13 cooperatives to enable them to produce organic virgin coconut oil for export markets – primarily Australia and New Zealand. Each cooperative has about 50 members, all of whom belong to the same extended family. Women manage all but three of the cooperatives and women’s status has increased as they are seen as having brought income opportunities to their communities.</palign=”justify”>
The project was started by WIBDI in 1996 as part of its micro-finance and micro-enterprise scheme, and has enabled women and their families to improve their incomes as well as reviving coconut production and contributing to export earnings. Exports increased significantly when organic certification was obtained.
The study shows how a local NGO can assist women to enter export markets through provision of traditional business services including credit, training, improved technologies, and marketing research and assistance.
3. Cashew Nut Producers and Processors, Mozambique
Women smallholders and factory workers were involved in efforts to regenerate the cashew nut production, processing and export industry in Mozambique. Following the collapse of the last state-owned processing factories in the 1990s, several smaller-scale factories were established by the private sector with government support.
A particularly interesting experiment was the setting up of ‘satellite’ processing units around one of these factories. This was seen as a way of adding more value locally, shortening the supply chain by eliminating middlemen and providing more employment for rural people, including women.
This innovative model revolves around a social entrepreneur in partnership with government and an international NGO, Technoserve.