Cocoa Diaries

Cocoa farmers and sustainability partners share their challenges and hopes for the future

« Je Demande à Ce Qu’on Nous Vienne En Appui Pour Qu’on Puisse Sauver Cette Forêt »

Koua Mea Lucien Patrick, Kouadio Elleby Joël

La forêt classée de Bossematié, près d’Abengourou en Côte d'Ivoire, constitue un patrimoine naturel rare. « Ici, on a encore des arbres centenaires, on a vraiment une biodiversité. II y a des éléphants, il y a toute sorte d'animaux et d’arbres…

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“I Ask For Support So We Can Save This Forest”

Koua Mea Lucien Patrick, Kouadio Elleby Joel

The classified forest of Bossematié, near Abengourou in Côte d’Ivoire, is a rare natural heritage. “Here, we still have hundred-year-old trees, we really have biodiversity. There are elephants, there are all kinds of animals and trees living together, it's a…

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« J’ai Plus D’argent Par Rapport à un Champ Non Diversifié »

Arsène Kouakou, Boa Ehouman

Arsène Kouakou est fier de sa parcelle de cacao sous ombrage située à Zouhounou, dans l’est de la Côte d’Ivoire. « Mon métier, c’est planteur, » dit-il. « Je suis né dans le cacao, mes parents étaient déjà dedans. Depuis l’école, nos métiers,…

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“I Have More Money Compared to a Non-Diversified Field”

Arsène Kouakou, Boa Ehouman

Arsène Kouakou is proud of his shaded cocoa plot located in Zouhounou, in eastern Côte d'Ivoire. “I am a farmer,” he says. “I was born in cocoa; my parents were already in it. Since school, our jobs, my brothers, we…

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« Celui Qui A Planté Un Arbre Avant De Mourir N’a Pas Vécu Inutilement »

Dosso Amara

Dosso Amara s'occupe des forêts de la région de l'Indénié-Djuablin en Côte d'Ivoire, et il est fier de son travail : « Celui qui a planté un arbre avant de mourir n'a pas vécu inutilement (…)  J’ai la certitude que c'est…

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“He Who Planted a Tree Did Not Live in Vain”

Dosso Amara

Dosso Amara looks after the forests of the Indénié-Djuablin region in Côte d’Ivoire, and he is proud of his job: “He who planted a tree before he died did not live in vain (…) I am sure that here lies…

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“Queen of Farmers”

Adowa Sintim

Adwoa Sintim is a 69-year-old Ghanian woman with a deep love for farming and “the peace of mind” it brings her. For more than 30 years, farming has been an integral part of her life and now she is encouraging…

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“Trees Bring Oxygen, Shade and Rain”

Flore Affoue Koffi

In Côte d’Ivoire, traditional cocoa farming involved cutting down trees to increase sunlight. This not only accelerates climate change, but also negatively impacts cocoa yields. Shade management is better for cocoa tree life expectancy, quality of beans and soil health.…

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“Teach My children About the Climate”

Kofi Ameyaw , Isaac Arhin

Planting new tree species on existing cocoa plots can take us a long way towards the production of climate and forest friendly cocoa. As part of the Cocoa & Forests Initiative, cocoa and chocolate companies are running projects to ensure…

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Kofi Ameyaw

“Trees Benefit The Growth of My Cocoa”

Owosu Sampson

Owosu Sampson, a cocoa farmer from the Anyinam District of Ghana, explains: “Last year I received 150 cocoa seedlings and 12 multipurpose tree seedlings from the local nursery that has been established in my community, Adasawase. I have five cocoa…

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Owosu Sampson

“Everyone Is Affected By Climate Change”

Patricia Kouamé

Patricia Kouamé, president of ECOAS, a cooperative mainly composed of women, says: "Everyone is affected by climate change, and even more so we, the main players in the agricultural world". In the San-Pedro region, where ECOAS is located, the climate…

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Patricia Kouamé on her cocoa farm

“I Created a Community Forest”

Ouedraogo Drissa

Ouedraogo Drissa, a cocoa farmer from Kpada, Côte d’Ivoire, is an ambitious man: “Five years ago, our village was suffering from a lack of forest and when the program partners offered us forest tree seedings to be planted on our…

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tree

“Better Manage the Lean Season”

Dehoun Sandoni

Dehoun Sandoni is a mother of 11 children, six of whom are in school. She is a cocoa farmer's wife, and her husband is a member of the SOCOOPADO cooperative located in Dokpodon, near Grand Lahou, about 120 kms (73…

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Dehoun Sandoni

“I Sold 48,000 Plants”

Soumaila Sanou

Soumaila Sanou, cocoa farmer in the Eastern Region of Côte d'Ivoire, says "since 2016, we have felt a change in the climate". He knows that this is due in part to deforestation, which causes global warming. Soumaila Sanou is aware…

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Soumaila Sanou, nurseryman and cocoa farmer - Abouasso, East of Côte d'Ivoire

“I Will Practice What I’ve Learned”

Kouakou

When we met Kouakou, 63, on his farm, he proudly shared that he had been involved in a project which “changed the way [he] produces cocoa”. This project, part of the Cocoa & Forests Initiative, seeks to support farmers like…

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Kouakou, Cocoa Farmer - Konan-Kokoréko, Côte d’Ivoire

“The Health of My Field is Very Good”

Kouadio Adama

In 2018, Kouadio Adama’s cocoa farm, which was almost twenty years old, was no longer productive: "Between the drop in productivity and the diseases, I was discouraged", he said. The aging of cocoa plots and the decrease in productivity that…

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Kouadio Adama2

“Shade Tree Registration Will Help a Lot Of Farmers”

Esi Nkrumah

Esi Nkrumah, 66, is a cocoa farmer from the village of Pewodi, in Nsokoté, Ghana. Apart from cocoa, she also grows plantain, casava and palm trees, which she sells in order to have an additional income source. But cocoa is…

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Esi Nkrumah

“The Community Has Been Made Aware of Deforestation”

Sankara Abdoulaye

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…

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sankara Abdoulaye

“I Have Discovered the Principles of Agroforestry”

Kouame

When asked about his participation to a project led by the agroforestry expert organization PUR Projet and his cooperative, Kouame, 54, explains: “thanks to the workshops, I have discovered the principles of agroforestry and have learned new techniques on planting,…

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Kouame, Cocoa Farmer - Léléblé, Côte d’Ivoire

“Our Shared Responsibility Doesn’t Stop There”

Oro Obré Marcellin

In 2021, a Cocoa & Forests Initiative company launched a reforestation project in a cocoa cooperative in Bayota, Côte d’Ivoire. The objective was to plant 11,000 native trees across 17 hectares of degraded forest areas. The project entailed community sensitization…

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Oro Obré Marcellin

“It Is Important To Maintain The Remaining Forest”

Agnès N’goran Adjoua

Agnès N’goran Adjoua is a cocoa farmer in the department of Soubré in the Nawa region of Côte d’Ivoire. She lives in Yabayo, one of her cooperative’s communities, and owns a cocoa farm of 3.32 hectares. “We are aware that…

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Agnès N’goran Adjoua

“The Sun Had Been Stressing My Cocoa Trees”

Drissa Konaté

Drissa Konaté settled in Soubré, one of the major cocoa production areas in Côte d'Ivoire, in the early nineties. “My 5-hectare cocoa farm is 19 years-old and used to produce 3.5 mt. However, after a period of high yields, my…

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Drissa Konate

Bumps In the Road, Hard Work and a Young Female Talent Award

Brognan Akoua N’guettia

Meet Brognan Akoua N'guettia, winner of the Women in Cocoa & Chocolate Network (WINCC) Young Female Talent award. A single mother of two, Brognan Akoua is a field agent for Beyond Beans in Côte d’Ivoire. She is in charge of…

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A Gender Ambassador for Women Empowerment

Anne van der Veen

Meet Anne van der Veen, winner of the Women in Cocoa & Chocolate Network (WINCC) Gender Ambassador award. Through her efforts as Global Programs manager at ETG / Beyond Beans, Anne is managing sustainability projects involving 80,000 cocoa farmers, with…

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“Increasing Cocoa Yield with the Same Amount of Land is Possible”

Hamidu Isaka

Hamidu Isaka, 35, has always had a passion for supporting farmer livelihoods in Ghana. “I first volunteered with an agribusiness growth initiative to support cocoa farmer livelihoods when I was in college.” Fast forward past his agricultural studies, MBA, and…

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Photo of sustainable cocoa farmer Hamidu Isaka

“Budgeting and Crop Diversification are Life Changing”

Ardjouma Biago

Ardjouma Biago, a 52-year-old farmer, owns a one hectare cocoa plot in Koupella, Côte d'Ivoire, near Bouaflé. Ardjouma suffered from poverty and had to borrow constantly because she “did not have the money to eat” or properly feed her family…

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Headshot of Arjouma Biago, sustainable cocoa farmer in Cote d'Ivoire

“Planting Trees Will Bring Back the Forest”

Lucas

Loggers and farmers have destroyed all the big trees in Western Côte d’Ivoire, where Lucas, a 37-year-old cocoa farmer and father of three, lives and works. This is causing climate change and lower agricultural yields. As part of the Cocoa…

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Sustainable cocoa farmer on cocoa farm in Cote dIvoire

“New Ways of Cultivating Cocoa”

Comfort Owusuaa, Isaac Boafo

Comfort Owusuaa and Isaac Boafo are two cocoa farmers from Assin Bereku, in central Ghana. In this region, where cocoa production is the major source of income, the Cocoa & Forests Initiative supports farmers with actions to improve their livelihoods,…

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Training by agronomists to cultivate vegetables to improve nutrition and generate extra income for sustainable cocoa farmers in Ghana

Golden Eggs: Better Income, Better Nutrition, Better Cocoa

Janet Awuku

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…

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Headshot of sustainable woman cocoa farmer Janet Awuku in Ghana

“Fully Own My Trees, and Plant More of Them”

Portia Sani

Portia Sani is a 32-year-old cocoa farmer from Sefwi Elluokrom in the Western North region of Ghana. She successfully manages her own cocoa farm as well as a family of six, including four children. Her farm is part of Cocoa…

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Portrait of Portia Sani sustainable woman cocoa farmer in Ghana

A River, a Refuge for Wildlife and Cocoa Farmers

Ekra Yao Blaise

In between Côte d’Ivoire’s Tai National Park and neighboring Grebo-Krahn National Park in Liberia, Ekra Yao Blaise and 76 other farmers are part of the Hana River Project, working to create a 20-meter natural barrier between their cocoa farms and…

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Headshot of sustainable cocoa farmer in Cote d'Ivoire Ekra Yao Blaise

“People Get Along Better”

Lucie

In this village of Western Côte d’Ivoire, cocoa was considered a man’s crop even though women worked on the farms - caring for the trees, weeding, and helping with pods and beans. But things are changing thanks to the Village…

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Sustainable women cocoa farmers part of a village savings and loan association in Cote d'Ivoire

“My Farm’s Productivity has Increased”

Ouedrago Salif

Ouedrago Salif is one of 13,483 cocoa farmers to have taken part in a Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) training and coaching program run by an NGO in West Africa. It was the first time this husband and father of five…

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Sustainable cocoa farmer Ouedrago Salif in Cote d'Ivoire

“It’s Important to Restore the Forest to Cope with Climate Change”

Diagone

Diagone remembers that when he was younger, there were many large trees on the farm where his family grows cocoa. “We had good yields,” he said. “But today I have noticed that with the felling of these large trees, production…

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“Women are Good Managers of Finances”

Amina Adams

Amina Adams, 65, leads a group of 28 women in the Isha Allah Medina women’s association. The women are mostly smallholder cocoa farmers with small plots of land and low yields that cannot generate enough income to fully support them…

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“If You Plan for the Future of Your Farm, You Can Make More from It”

Yaa Fosua

Yaa Fosua, 56, has been farming cocoa in the Punikrom region of Ghana for over 30 years. But despite investing in fertilizers and pesticides for her 1-hectare farm, her cocoa trees were unhealthy and low yielding, and she was struggling…

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Cocoa Farming as a Business

Growing more cocoa on less land is a major objective of the Cocoa & Forests Initiative. To achieve this, cocoa and chocolate companies have embraced individual coaching coupled with digital decision-making tools for farmers. These tools combine agronomy and economics…

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“Sustainability Nowadays Is About Having the Right Data”

Raphaëlle Peinado

Meet Raphaëlle Peinado, 31, sustainability manager for a cocoa and chocolate company. “I chose this career because I was interested in the impact the private sector can have on sustainable development. I started my career working in South America to…

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Sustainability, cocoa sustainability, sustainable cocoa, why is sustainability important, sustainability defined, sustainability movement, cocoa plant, cocoa bean, cacao, raw cacao, deforestation, what is deforestation

Tree Registration in Ghana: “A dream come true”

As agroforestry practices are being introduced to cocoa communities, trees from different species are planted on farms. Registering these trees is critical as it give farmers tree ownership. It also means they benefit financially from any revenue generated from their…

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Sustainability, cocoa sustainability, sustainable cocoa, why is sustainability important, sustainability defined, sustainability movement, cocoa plant, cocoa bean, cacao, raw cacao, deforestation, what is deforestation

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

Abdoulaye Soumahoro

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…

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Sustainability, cocoa sustainability, sustainable cocoa, why is sustainability important, sustainability defined, sustainability movement, cocoa plant, cocoa bean, cacao, raw cacao, deforestation, what is deforestation

“The Climate Smart Training Has Been Very Helpful”

Abraham Taah

Farmer Field Schools (FFS) are one way in which climate smart standards are shared by cocoa and chocolate companies to help farmers grow ‘more cocoa on less land’ despite climate change. In some FFS, facilitators use a participatory approach to…

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Bringing Cocoa Farms “Back to Life”

Vanessa Ouga Dominique

Vanessa Ouga Dominique, 40, is one of two female farm leads working for a cooperative in San Pedro which has partnered with cocoa and chocolate companies since 2013 and includes around 900 cocoa farmers. In the role, she is responsible…

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“On Average I Map 10 to 15 Farms a Day”

Jean-Marie

As part of the Cocoa & Forests Initiative to end deforestation and restore forest areas, cocoa and chocolate companies want to ensure that the cocoa that they purchase is deforestation free, with the goal of 100% of cocoa sourcing traceable…

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Sustainability, cocoa sustainability, sustainable cocoa, why is sustainability important, sustainability defined, sustainability movement, cocoa plant, cocoa bean, cacao, raw cacao, deforestation, what is deforestation

“I Would Not Hesitate to Recommend Agroforestry to Others”

William Asante Nkua

William Asante Nkuah, is a cocoa farmer at Eteso in Ghana's Juaboso District. He is participating in a cocoa and chocolate company agroforestry program, which encourages farmers like him to plant forest and fruit trees alongside cocoa in order to…

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“You Can Take Care of Your Children” with Cocoa

N'Dri Kouadio Pascal

He never went to school. Instead, N’Dri Kouadio Pascal moved around the cocoa farms of Côte d’Ivoire, the world’s leading cocoa-producing country. “When I was a child, both my parents were dead, so I grew up here and there,” he…

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“I Would Have Owned More Farms if I Knew the Things I Know Now”

Elizabeth Obeng

Elizabeth Obeng is a busy woman — teacher, shopkeeper, cocoa farmer, and a single mother. She grows cocoa on two plots of land totaling five acres in Assin Afeaso in central Ghana. “My parents did farming and didn't benefit from…

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Sustainability, cocoa sustainability, sustainable cocoa, why is sustainability important, sustainability defined, sustainability movement, cocoa plant, cocoa bean, cacao, raw cacao, deforestation, what is deforestation

“I Love Cocoa”: From Urban Migrant to Dynamic Agroforester

Ediko Appo Agnes

Ediko Appo Agnes stood among her cocoa trees, a machete in one hand with heart-shaped earrings framing her face, and talked about dynamic agroforestry. “It’s a farm where you put several plants — plantain, cassava, all you need for nutrition…

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“For us Cocoa Farmers, our Problem is Climate Change”

Yao Ahou

Yao Ahou has learned much in her 60 years, including two certainties she makes sure to emphasize. “We will always be in the cocoa,” she said, standing among the pod-flecked trees on her three-hectare plot in southern Côte d’Ivoire. “We…

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cocoa farmer Yao Ahou from Ndenou

“Cocoa Farming Has Helped Me”: Productivity, Diversification and a Three-Bedroom House

Kenneth Osei

Farming cocoa is Kenneth Osei’s livelihood, and his passion. Each day he works his five-acre plantation in southern Ghana, knowing the time spent weeding the land and pruning his trees means money to feed his family and pay for his…

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Sustainability, cocoa sustainability, sustainable cocoa, why is sustainability important, sustainability defined, sustainability movement, cocoa plant, cocoa bean, cacao, raw cacao, deforestation, what is deforestation

“We Really Like Chocolate”: Managing a Nursery, Empowering a Community

Kouassi Yaoua N’Guessan

Before there was the plant nursery she manages with other local women, and the rice they grow to supplement their incomes from cocoa farming, Kouassi Yaoua N’Guessan led a simpler existence. “I sold my cocoa ordinarily,” she said of her…

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“To be a Successful Cocoa Farmer (…) You Need (…) Modern Technology”

Stephen Cobbinah, Philip Oppong

They both farm cocoa in the same region of Ghana, and both say the changing climate has made their work harder. Stephen Cobbinah, a former deputy commissioner of the Ghana National Fire Service, is a 67-year-old father of five grown…

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Sustainability, cocoa sustainability, sustainable cocoa, why is sustainability important, sustainability defined, sustainability movement, cocoa plant, cocoa bean, cacao, raw cacao, deforestation, what is deforestation

“It is cocoa that sustains us” but future generations “will not be farmers”

N’Guessan Michel

N’Guessan Michel is a cocoa farmer on the rise. His 5.22-hectare plot increased its cocoa yield by more than 70% after he underwent productivity training two years ago with the COOPAA cooperative in Oreskrobou in Southeastern Côte d’Ivoire. Additional coaching…

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“Schooling is More Important Than Cocoa Farming”

Janet Kwaa

Just after the birth of her second child more than four years ago, Janet Kwaa began farming cocoa on 4.5 acres of land in southern Ghana. With two young mouths to feed, the 27-year-old has a set regimen for her…

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“Paying School Fees is Difficult Because Cocoa Farming is Seasonal”

Haruna Arko

In the good times, cocoa farming brings Haruna Arko what he needs to provide for his family the way he wants. He can pay the school fees for his seven children and open a provision store for his wife to…

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“[Cocoa] is difficult work, but with determination and perseverance you will be better off”

Sena Korku Wosornu

Sena Korku Wosornu has been cocoa farming in Assin Dunkwa, in Ghana's Abura-Asebu-Kwamankese district, for most of his 66 years, and his story is typical of many in Ghana and Côte D’Ivoire who produce the core ingredient in your chocolate.…

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Sustainability, cocoa sustainability, sustainable cocoa, why is sustainability important, sustainability defined, sustainability movement, cocoa plant, cocoa bean, cacao, raw cacao, deforestation, what is deforestation

Leading the Way: Betty’s Story

Betty Joshua

Behind Betty Joshua’s quiet nature lies a determined advocate for Papua New Guinean women farmers. A single mother of two girls, Betty lives in Wora village, high up in the lush green hills of Sepik’s Maprik District. Over the course…

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