Cocoa processing start-up Koa secures US$3.5M for sustainable cocoa fruit production

GHANA – Swiss-Ghanaian cocoa processing start-up Koa has secured US$3.5 million from The Landscape Resilience Fund (LRF) and IDH Farmfit Fund to boost cocoa fruit production.

This investment will support Koa to set up a new processing facility in the country, increasing production capacity more than tenfold by 2024 and creating additional income for up to 10,000 cocoa farmers.

The overwhelming majority of cocoa farmers are trapped in crippling poverty which is being exacerbated by a lack of access to affordable finance and increasing extreme weather driven by climate change.

As a young social enterprise committed to sustainability and creating shared value, Koa’s fresh look at the cocoa pulp as a source of value has immense potential to boost the incomes and resilience of smallholder cocoa farmers in 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,” said Francis Appiagyei-Poku, Finance Director, Koa Impact Ghana.

Making use of the previously lost cocoa pulp, we can increase and diversify smallholder farmers’ income. Furthermore, the new production plant will create 250 jobs and new vocational opportunities for communities in rural Ghana.”

Koa has unlocked a new decentralized value chain around the previously unused cocoa pulp which boosts farmer income and improves climate resilience in two ways.

Firstly, it provides a meaningful increase in the income of cocoa farmers, paying them on the spot while transparently recording transactions.

The entire process reduces food waste by 40%, thus, enhancing the land use of cocoa farms and reducing their carbon footprint.

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,” said Barbara Visser, COO, IDH Farmfit Fund.

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.”

The start-up also trains farmers in sustainable agricultural practices and post-harvest processing, reducing the environmental impact of cocoa farming.

The investment come at a time when over 270 million smallholder farmers, globally lack access to affordable finance to invest in their farms, increase productivity, and transition towards climate-resilient agriculture.

To meet this challenge, the Landscape Resilience Fund and the IDH Farmfit Fund are working to increase farmers’ income and improve their resilience in the face of climate change.

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