GHANA – Koa, a sustainable cocoa processing startup in Ghana, has clinched US$3.5m investment from Landscape Resilience Fund (LRF) and IDH Farmfit Fund, to be channelled towards boosting its operational efficiency.
As a young social enterprise committed to sustainability and creating shared value, Koa has adopted a new fresh look at the cocoa fruit as a source of value with immense potential to boost the incomes and resilience of smallholder cocoa farmers in Ghana.
The organization has formulated an innovative way to gently process the cocoa fruit in close cooperation with over 1,600 smallholders.
The start-up uses novel processing technology that is mobile, enabling them to extract the cocoa fruit juice in the center of the communities, next to the cocoa farms. This is made possible as the processing facilities are powered using solar energy.
Further to that, it has unveiled more value for the cocoa pod by processing the cocoa pulp which was previously used for fermentation in small quantities.
Other than increasing farmers’ incomes, the whole process reduces food waste by 40%, thus, enhancing the land use of cocoa farms and reducing their carbon footprint.
This novel ingredient that arises from processing of the cocoa pod can be used for a variety of innovative creations in the food industry from juice, chocolate, pastries, icecreams to savoury products.
Francis Appiagyei-Poku, Finance Director, Koa Impact Ghana, “The investment from the IDH Farmfit Fund and the Landscape Resilience Fund allows us to extend our positive impact to new cocoa growing regions in Ghana.”
The investment will support Koa in the establishment of a new processing facility, increasing its production capacity by more than tenfold by 2024 and creating additional income for up to 10,000 cocoa farmers.
The new production plant will also create 250 jobs and new vocational opportunities for communities in rural Ghana.
Barbara Visser, COO, IDH Farmfit Fund said, “Koa’s innovation makes it possible for farmers to increase their (living) income significantly by selling their waste product, without having to make additional investment costs at their farms.
“Koa furthermore aims to create gender equal employment opportunities in rural communities and targets to reach 40% women farmers, which are in line with core objectives of the IDH Farmfit Fund.
“We are very pleased that today’s investment will support Koa in responsible value creation in the cocoa supply chain. These kind of disruptive and innovative solutions are key to catalyse the system change that is needed to improve the lives of these cocoa farmers.”
Koa also trains farmers in sustainable agricultural practices and post-harvest processing, reducing the environmental impact of cocoa farming.
Urs Dieterich, Managing Director, Landscape Resilience Fund stated, ” That’s what today’s investment is all about — supporting an inspiring, socially and environmentally grounded business to reach even greater heights and have even more climate impact.
“But climate adaptation is chronically underfinanced. We must go further, faster, to ensure climate adaptation is a core pillar of our response to the climate crisis.”