Sankara Abdoulaye, 50, is father to four daughters and owns a six-hectare cocoa farm. “A few years ago, I started noticing that rainfall dropped and at the same time temperatures rose. This situation has caused the death of many cocoa trees and declining yields,” he says. “There are increasingly longer periods of drought and less reliable months with rain making (…). This change in climate negatively affects our yields. It’s evident that the vegetation cover is gradually disappearing, partly due to drought and partly due to CSSV spreading.”
As part of the Cocoa & Forests Initiative, a sector-wide program to end cocoa-related deforestation, partners organized a training during which they talked about climate change and trees. Staff from the cooperative came to map Sankara Abdoulaye’s farm and he learnt its exact size. “The cooperative has given me 100 trees since 2014. I planted them all and 80 are still alive today and provide shade to my cocoa trees. I’d like to have more seedlings to replace the 20 that died,” he explains. “It’s also worth saying that the village chief of Gbagbam plans to set up a community forest this year and I was selected to lead the project. (…) Even better, the cooperative negotiated a hectare of uncultivated land that will be transformed into a community forest. The whole community has been made aware of deforestation and is now supportive of the creation of this community forest that will promote tree planting to fight climate change and deforestation.”
Sankara Abdoulaye also wants to make sure the project is inclusive: “On top of that, the women and youth of the village will take an active part in the creation of this community forest. In my opinion it is necessary to engage women and youth in the decision-making and in carrying out all activities that relate to the well-being of our community, because women and youth hold an important place in society”, he concludes.