“I am a cocoa farmer”: Daniel Aboagye, Western Region, Ghana

Cocoa farmer John Adamnor breaks cocoa pods while chatting with a neighbor

About the series

One of my favorite writing projects is my series, “I am a cocoa farmer,” for ConfectioneryNews. When I moved to Ghana a few years ago, I knew I had an opportunity to bring readers a little closer to the world of cocoa farming in Africa. I wanted to show what everyday life is like for the women and men who farm the crop that gives us chocolate.

How do I write it?

To write these articles, I first do a long interview with the farmer, usually around two hours. When possible, we go for a walk on the farm together, or around the village at least. After that, I do my best to meet up with the farmer again under different circumstances, to see what other sorts of work they do, or to learn about some other aspect of their lives.

Cocoa farmer John Adamnor breaks cocoa pods while chatting with a neighbor
John Adamnor helps a neighbor break cocoa pods

Staying in touch

In the case of John Adamnor, whose profile launched the series, we live close enough to each other (less than a two-hour drive) that I’ve been able to continue meeting up. In fact, I just saw John recently, as he was helping a neighbor break a large quantity of cocoa pods. I will go back to visit him after the holidays, to see how he is winding up the main crop season. So writing this series has also brought me personally closer to some of the farmers, and I hope it does the same for readers.

Cocoa farmer Daniel Aboagye shows me a vine from "yam under cocoa," a tuber that grows beneath cocoa trees
Daniel Aboagye with a vine of “yam under cocoa,” a tuber that grows beneath cocoa trees.

Next in the series

The next installment gives us a look into the life and work of Daniel Aboagye, who farms in the Western Region of Ghana, which has long been the largest cocoa-growing area of the country. That may be changing, and Aboagye offers his insights into that and other topics. I hope you will enjoy reading this article, and will learn something new about the everyday work of cocoa farming.

Author Kristy Leissle in Susanso village, Ghana Western Region, after interviewing Daniel Aboagye
Author Kristy Leissle in Susanso village, after interviewing Daniel Aboagye

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