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Thirty-year-old Janet Awuku lives in Wuruyie, a community of 600 people in the Ashanti region of Ghana. A mother of five, Janet has grown cocoa on her own farm since 2011.
As part of the Cocoa & Forests Initiative, cocoa and chocolate companies help prevent deforestation by improving farmers’ livelihoods and wellbeings through diversified income sources. When farmers can make a living on existing farms, they are less tempted to go into forests to plant cocoa. Community development officers started working with Janet’s village in 2019 and introduced the community to poultry farming. They now have 86 birds and have produced over 16,000 eggs!
“Breeding chickens has had a positive impact on my family and community. We never used to eat eggs before. Now my children enjoy chicken eggs regularly and benefit from this new source of protein. We also sell the extra eggs during the light crop season, which provides us with a very valuable extra source of money,” said Janet.
The selling of chicken eggs has generated an extra 1,200 euros from January to July 2020 for the Wuruyie community. The poultry farm is run by the Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA), with 25 women members including Janet. She said, “on top of poultry farming, I (…) engage in backyard gardening. Gardening vegetables was introduced to diversify our crop and income even more.”
These initiatives are championed by Janet, but her family is also very supportive as they can see the tangible benefits.
My family is really enthusiastic about these initiatives. My husband helped build the chicken coop and we even use the chicken droppings as an organic fertilizer on our cocoa farm. The productivity of our cocoa trees has improved at no extra cost. I plan on continuing with the poultry farming because it has really been good for us, both financially and with regards to nutrition. I plan on encouraging other friends to join so their families can benefit from it too.