Germany traces the origins of sustainability efforts in its cocoa and chocolate industry back to the 19th century. It was… Read More
Mr. Yaw Nyarko is a cocoa farmer in the Eastern Region of Ghana. He resides in Akote Krom; a community in the Birim South district. In Akote Krom, the farmers are mostly migrants from various ethnic groups.
The major crop cultivated in this community is cocoa. The farmers also intercrop their farms with some food crops such as plantain, cassava and maize which serve not only as shade for the cocoa seedlings but also a support for farmers outside of the main cocoa harvest season.
Mr. Nyarko was not very satisfied with the income his cocoa farm generated as he battled with low yields, pest and disease attack, mistletoe infestation and farm management issues. He was therefore looking for opportunities to diversify into other crops and engage in other activities to supplement his income. He expressed concern about the fact that he has little recollection of how the money he receives for his cocoa is spent.
It was therefore welcome news to him, when the World Cocoa Foundation’s Cocoa Livelihoods Program (WCF/CLP) was introduced in the Akote Krom community. The 32 year old, energetic Mr. Nyarko who was eager to find solutions to his problems enrolled in the WCF/CLP Farmer Field School training where he was given training on cocoa production and better farming practices. He spoke with passion and excitement that he attended all the training sessions after which he also enrolled in WCF/CLP’s Farmer Business School.
In the Farmer Business School, he was introduced to several modules among which are approaching farming from a business perspective, and the need for savings. He exclaimed, “that was all that I needed to change my life.” Since the training, he has gone through one production cycle and his yield has already increased tremendously from four bags to 17 bags translating into an income increase from $400 previously to $3,400. He is now able to save with Ghana Commercial Bank and he hopes to acquire more land to expand his farm business.
“It has been hard work,” he admits, “but it has been well worth the effort. A lot has gone into managing the farm as a business, but here I am standing beside my building. I no longer worry about school fees or anything.” He speaks with gratitude, “thanks to WCF/CLP for changing my life.”