“I Was Given 100 Shade Plants Which I’ve Planted”

Cocoa Diaries Abdoulaye Soumahoro

Cocoa Farmer
Dagadji, San Pedro region, South West Côte d’Ivoire

Abdoulaye Soumahoro, 39, is a cocoa farmer in Dagadji, San Pedro region of South West Côte d’Ivoire. Like many smallholders he struggles with low yields, but cocoa and chocolate companies have supported him through one-on-one agricultural coaching where he learned how simple farming techniques can improve productivity while also helping to restore lost forest cover.

The training changed the way he thinks about the forest near his farm and encouraged him to plant trees on his own land. “I was given 100 shade plants which I’ve planted. They mean more leaves to feed the soil, which is good because making compost is hard. After the training, I know that if I were given land in a classified forest, I would not farm it. That’s not what we do.”

The methods he was taught thanks to the coaching have also helped him to improve his income. “They taught us how to a make compost, how to look after the trees, how to prune. It made me change the way I do things. I never pruned my cocoa trees before, and I wasn’t doing anything other than cocoa. Now, I keep chickens too to bring in extra money.”