Cocoa Diaries

Cocoa Diaries is a World Cocoa Foundation blog series giving a voice to individual perspectives at the base of the cocoa supply chain.

“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…

Learn More
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…

Learn More
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 Kouassi Kouame, 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…

Learn More
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,…

Learn More
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…

Learn More
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…

Learn More
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…

Learn More
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…

Learn More
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…

Learn More
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 plantation where his family farmed cocoa. “We had good yields,” he said. “But today I have noticed that with the felling of these large trees, production…

Learn More

“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…

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

“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…

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

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…

Learn More
Sustainability, cocoa sustainability, sustainable cocoa, why is sustainability important, sustainability defined, sustainability movement, cocoa plant, cocoa bean, cacao, raw cacao

“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…

Learn More
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…

Learn More
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…

Learn More
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…

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

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…

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

“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…

Learn More
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…

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

“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…

Learn More
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 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…

Learn More
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…

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

“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…

Learn More
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…

Learn More
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…

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

“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…

Learn More
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…

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

“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…

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

“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…

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

“[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.…

Learn More
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…

Learn More