This paper makes the case that cocoa cooperatives must adopt member equity plans based on usage in order to grow and become independent successful co-operatives. The introduction quotes notable co-operative experts on the centrality of member equity. Sections describe: (1) challenges facing cocoa co-ops; (2) reasons that the chocolate, Fair trade and development organizations should understand and support member equity plans; (3) the differences between co-ops and other business forms; (4) member equity plans; (5) equity redemption plans; (6) why agricultural co-ops in developing countries have not adopted such plans; (7) cocoa co-ops as group-based businesses; (8) the donor’s role in co-operative development; (9) the financial difference between farmer associations and co-ops; and (10) capitalizing farmer associations and co-ops. The conclusion outlines the historical and current roles of co-ops in social and economic development. There are two attachments: a case study of the adoption of member equity plans by Acopagro and Oro Verde in Peru; and a selected bibliography on member equity for those interested in more insights and information.