KAVOKIVA - Coopérative agricole Kavokiva du Haut Sassandra
The average member of Kavokiva farms 3 hectares of cocoa. Cocoa is the main source of income for most of these farmers, many of whom also grow Robusta coffee. They also grow fruit and vegetables for home consumption and women sell bananas and other crops at the local market on Fridays. Many villages have no electricity and drinking water is only available from the village well. Access to health care is inadequate and the nearest clinic or hospital can be more than 10 kilometers away. The illiteracy rate among agricultural communities is as high as 95 percent, as many schools in the area are poorly equipped and too far away for children to attend each day.
In the face of these challenges, Kavokiva has undergone remarkable growth since it began organizing small-scale cocoa farmers. The Ivorian government and other entities have recognized Kavokiva as one of the best cooperatives in the country because of their high-quality cocoa and well-organized cooperative structure.
Kavokiva was Fair Trade certified in 2004. As part of Fair Trade, Kavokiva’s mission is to improve the social and economic position of its members by supporting the production and marketing of their cocoa and coffee. This includes paying a higher price for members’ beans than local traders do and providing credit for farm inputs like fertilizers, and pesticides. They also provide credits for farmers to cover their children’s school fees and their families’ medical expenses.
In the face of oftimes ineffective public services, members look to Kavokiva to provide their basic social needs. Even with large sales volumes, Kavokiva would be unable to finance all the necessary services. But Fair Trade is providing an opportunity for Kavokiva to put some of these urgently needed services in place – so that the benefits of building clinics and improved schools are extended to the whole community, not just Kavokiva members.
The Fair Trade premium has meant that Kavokiva has been able to provide members with key benefits, including an annual bonus and investment in improving education and health services.
The health center and health insurance system are the most important benefits. Mortality rates have come down. Previously we lost 30 farmers per year, but this has been reduced to just four this year. These improvements are thanks to health insurance. 36 operations were carried out, which meant that those farmers are still alive when at least twenty would have died otherwise. Without the insurance, there would be little else for a farmer to do, for example if they had a hernia, but die. ”
Fulgence Nguessan, President of Kavokiva
Kavokiva is one of the leading cooperative in Côte d’Ivoire and is a source of inspiration and motivation for many cooperatives that want to join Fair Trade. ”
Alex Assanvo, FLO Global Product Manager for Cocoa
We are aware that Fair Trade is a unique solution to improve our living conditions and fight against abusive child labor. We will fight with the help of the Fair Trade network to improve the lives of our members. ”
Fulgence N'Guessan, President of the Board
Investments in Sustainable Agriculture
The cooperative is promoting conservation through community education and power-saving technology. Kavokiva is also in the process of initiating an organic conversion pilot program.
Scholarships and New Schools
Kavokiva distributes scholarships to members' children so that they may attend school. The premium has also helped to build schools in some villages where the government school was too far away and where school fees are twice the cost of schools run by the co-operative. The co-op also purchases supplies, such as blackboards, for these remote schools.
Health Clinic, Ambulance and Insurance
One of the co-op’s biggest achievements has been investing the premium in the construction of its own health center at Gonaté. With a doctor, midwife, and two nurses available to offer a range of treatments and procedures, patients no longer need to travel long distances to a public hospital in order to receive medical attention. They have also bought their own ambulance car to collect patients from their villages in case of emergencies. Both the health center and the ambulance ensure that community members receive timely and quality healthcare that will ensure community memebers live healthy, productive lives. This is complemented by a free health insurance system with affordable medicines available to all members.