In early June we were invited to a private reception for a beautiful photo exhibition being held in the foyer of the Guardian offices in Kings Cross. The exhibition was called Faces of the Rainforest and told the stories of the faces behind the coffee beans we use or the cocoa we drink. Reading the stories made me realise that even though I had worked alongside the Rainforest Alliance, It still hits home that many of these people still need educating in safe farming and they still need help. Tilly was able to come too, after she is the future of the world and its important for them to understand how The Rainforest Alliance Make a difference.
The Rainforest Alliance works towards strengthening the position of smallholder cocoa farmers, both in the marketplace and on the land they work on. The rainforest Alliance will train them to conserve their natural resources and help them to provide decent living and working conditions for the employee's. They will also teach the farmers to increase productivity on their farm.
One person to benefit from the help and encouragement of the Rainforest Alliance is a cocoa farmer from Nkranfum, Ghana called Vida Tsatso Boaful, Here is her story
''My name is Vida Tsatso Boaful, and I am a cocoa farmer at Nkranfum, a community in the Assin North Municipality in Ghana. I am part of the Rainforest Alliance certification program because I want to be trained in improved and efficient ways of cultivating cocoa, so as to let my cocoa trees last longer, increase my yield, get some premium on the sale of my beans and also conserve and protect existing forests and waterways in and around my farm.
I have now realized there were so many things we used to think and do that were normal practices from time immemorial, and we just did not think that some of these practices were negatively affecting our lives, the soil, bodies of water and our environment.
Since I started practicing what I had been taught during the training sessions, my yield in cocoa production keeps improving and has increased from about three bags per acre to about 10 bags per acre. Most women in the program would testify to that fact. Our children are also now happily in school.
I used to feel intimidated amongst my fellow farmers but after some time in this program that inferiority complex has vanished to the extent that I can even speak boldly in the presence of the men. I think other women in other cocoa farming communities can do the same, or even better, when trained.''