I have been working as a cocoa farmer five days a week for 15 years now. My day starts at 6:00 in the morning. After mopping the floor in my house and having a small breakfast, I start working on our plantation. The work varies depending on the season - the main harvesting season is between October and March. It is a physically demanding job and I am beginning to feel my age of 63. For this reason, I would like to hire young workers to help me out - however, I don't have the necessary budget at the moment. I hope that next year I will have enough capital to afford personnel help. With the support of the Lindt & Sprüngli Farming Program, the "Village Savings & Loan Association” was founded here in our community of Mahamakrom in mid-October 2021.
To this meeting various cocoa farmers of a community assemble once a week, we currently count 24 members in our group. The purpose of the meeting is to help other cocoa farmers in need of financial support. To do this, members save a certain amount of money in a fund at each meeting. If a member then needs a loan, for example for working equipment, the money is lent to him. What I like most about the Village Savings & Loan Association is that we women are encouraged to stand up for ourselves, to be independent and empowered. We make decisions and have the same say as the male members.
The Lindt & Sprüngli Farming Program also supports us in many other aspects. The Farming Program Trainers showed me how I can use my land even in times when no cocoa can be harvested. Since then, I have additionally been growing vegetables that I can sell, but also use for my own consumption. Thanks to this valuable training that the Farming Program has taught me, I can now provide for myself all year round. I am very grateful for this!