Life-changing experience visiting cocoa farmers in Ghana’s remotest areas

It was in June 2014 when I traveled to Africa to visit cocoa farmers for the first time. Arriving at the first farm was quite an adventure; a two-day trip on the mud roads up north to the heart of the country.

In all the communities visited, we were warmly received by the locals. The villages are located hours away from the next bigger city, surrounded by hundreds of small cocoa farms. Farmers and their families generally face very basic living conditions. Most of the places we visited did not have any electricity or running water…

Traveling to Ghana to work with cocoa farmers was a life-changing experience. It made me realize that behind every cocoa bean, there is a story and numerous people dedicating their life to the cocoa supply chain. Seeing the passion and pride of farmers and the incredibly hard work it takes to transform cocoa beans into chocolate made me realize how little we know about how our food is produced. And not only this. Many of us judge realities in the field from a distance and speak about how we care about sustainability (specifically if it comes to child labor, etc.). Ultimately, however, our knowledge on local complexities and empathy with the farmers remains limited, just as our readiness to pay more for fairly produced products when it comes to decision-making at the shelf in the supermarket.

It was a privilege to dive into the story of chocolate from bean to bar and work with different farmers’ communities around the world. Unfortunately, such authentic experiences are still inaccessible for consumers, who have not other option than relying on the farmer stories they are told through the media. Never could I have imagined how much this experience would my relationship with food. I am deeply convinced about the power of personal relationships, and that allowing more people to live such an experience could be a trigger to overthink our consumption patterns, no matter if this is during our holidays or close to where we live.

FoodRoots Travel is a social enterprise with the mission to empower farmers to tell their own story and impact consumers’ behavior through authentic agritourism experiences.

Nicole

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