Ghanaian farmers from chocolate company Divine visit Harrow to spread word about fair trade

Harrow Times: Mavis and Mercy with Oxfam volunteer Guissepe and  Kuapa Kokoo press officer Mavis and Mercy with Oxfam volunteer Guissepe and Kuapa Kokoo press officer

Ghanaian women who spend their days farming for cocoa beans came to Harrow to spread the message about Fairtrade.

Mercy Zaah and Mavis Aduigyamfi left the sweltering climates they have become accustomed to, to offer people a taste of the chocolate their crops are used for.

The duo both own farms in Ghana and won a competition to represent the Kuapa Kokoo co-operative of 80,000 farmers and Divine, the chocolate company they own.

Harrow Borough Council mayor Nana Asante is an avid supporter of fair trade, and is keen to see the authority awarded fair trade status.

Mavis, 26, said: “The conditions on the farm are very good, but it can be tedious work and it leaves you feeling very tired.

“I have really enjoyed visiting Harrow and telling people about fair trade. Everyone was interested to hear about it.

“I had never left Ghana before so coming to England was exciting. It is just like how I expected, but I miss my family back home.”

For Mavis, a typical day begins when she wakes up at 4.30am to do the housework, before a 40 minute walk in boiling temperatures to the farm her family own.

There, she spends until 11am weeding, harvesting or breaking the cocoa before returning home to sell the days products.

Fairtrade is an international campaign to ensure farmers receive a fair price for growing and producing crops such as sugar, coffee, chocolate, sugar and cotton.

The campaign in Harrow was supported by Oxfam in Pinner, as Mavis and Mercy handed out free samples of Divine chocolate.

Mercy has owned her own farm since 1986 and joined the co-operative in 1999, and says she has never looked back.

The 56-year-old has juggled bringing up five children with working on the farm, but remains humble about her achievements.

She said: “I am proud of everything. I hope my children will inherit the farm some day.

“Visiting Harrow has been a very different experience, I have really enjoyed showing people what fair trade products are about.”

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