Press releases

Cocoa Sika announced as winner of Ghana Chocothon

30 January 2017
ITC News
Winning entry focuses on improving access to finance and healthcare for cocoa producers in Ghana.

(Accra) – Cocoa Sika, a team comprising web developers, social entrepreneurs and agriculturalists, was on 22 January named the winner of the Ghana Chocothon for its innovative solution to address problems in cocoa supply chain. Runners-up in the Chocothon were Vocoa, and Chocobites, two teams made up by a mix of students, web developers and agri specialists.

The goal of the Chocothon (or a hackathon) that took place at Impact Hub Accra, was to identify low-tech solutions to reduce sustainability challenges. However, it also aimed – through a collaborative effort – to assure a sustainable cocoa supply from cultivation to consumption, empower Ghanaian cocoa farmers, and create new opportunities for smallholders and other value chain stakeholders.

The Cocoa Sika team, which won one year of co-working space from Impact Hub Accra, focused its winning entry on production improvement for cocoa farmers. Under the slogan ‘Sika pa!’ (meaning ‘good money’), the team’s entry set out how to make it easier for Ghanaian cocoa farmers to access credit. The Cocoa Sika prototype – a mobile phone and web application – aims to give farmers access to low interest loans and system awarding loyalty bonuses to the farmers. It also proposes to include access to a health insurance scheme.

Insightful challenge

Speaking after winning the Chocothon, Christian Deku of the Cocoa Sika team said: ‘It was cool to participate in Chocothon and worth it, and also very insightful. It was great working with new people to come up with ideas and pitch them in 24 hours.’

Nearly as good as the winning bid were the entries by the two runners-up. For its proposal of a mobile phone and web app that gives farmers access to free business, financial tools and a data warehouse, Vocoa won six months’ worth of co-working space from Ispace. Meanwhile, for its proposal for a one-stop shop and pictorial diagnostic tool for farmers to solve problems, Chocobites won US$ 450.

Despite not grabbing the first prize, other participants were thrilled to participate in the Chocothon. Kofi Akyeampong of Vocoa said: ‘Other hackathons leave you to work on your idea but [the Chocothon] has periodical sessions to provide support. The business model canvas session helped a lot, enabling us to see more of the business side and deliver better value.’

Solomon Kalema Musisi of Chocobites said: ‘This chocothon triggered active learning and sharing within these days and we were able to do something in a day than much longer, we explored cocoa value chain.

The next steps will be for the winning teams to develop their solutions and be ready for a field-testing in a few months in Kumasi with lead-farmers and local producers’ associations.

For the organizing partners, too, the event was a success. Kwabena Barnafo from Google Ghana described the Chocothon as ‘a productive, providing local solutions by local teams’.

Safia Bernath, Global Monitoring and Evaluation Coordinator on Cocoa Sustainability at Barry Callebaut Sourcing, said: ‘There was good energy throughout the event and we should do some more events like this.’

Sandra Cabrera, an adviser on sustainability at the International Trade Centre (ITC), said: ‘As a first of its kind, the Chocothon has proven itself as a concept for combining ITC’s expertise with that of its technological partners to develop innovative solutions to challenges faced by SMEs in Ghana’s cocoa sector.’

The Chocothon initiative is a partnership between the International Trade Centre (ITC), the Google innovation lab for food experiences, Business School Lausanne (BSL), the Future Food Institute and the Crowdfooding. The knowledge partners are Googlers Give Global Leadership Program, Google GhanaAccra, Nestlé and Barry Callebaut. Food Inspiration and Food Tech Connect are media partners of the initiative.

The sponsors were Tony’s Chocolonely, Impact Hub Accra, ISpace and LeanPath.

To learn more about the Chocothon initiative and how you can partner with us, please visit: http://chocothon.com/