A single mother becomes self-reliant through agroforestry: The inspiring testimony of MORONOU Oba Philomène, cocoa producer


In Aboudé Kouassikro, in the Agnéby-Tiassa region, MORONOU Oba Philomène is a 45-year-old single mother. For over 10 years now, she has been traveling 10 kilometers a day to reach her cocoa plantation. Having dropped out of school after several failures in her final year of high school, she inherited a 3-hectares cocoa plot from her parents' death to take care of herself and her 3 children.

However, the already aging and poorly maintained plantation did not really allow her to be self-sufficient and independent. Despite her 9 hours of hard work each day to meet the expenses of her children's education and health, she still relied on financial support from her relatives. "I inherited this plantation from my parents, but it was hardly yielding anything anymore because it's old and some plants were dying due to drought. I couldn't even meet my own needs and those of my children. For their education and health expenses, I am forced to seek financial assistance from my brothers," she confides.

Without succumbing to discouragement, this mother concerned about her children's well-being continues to work tirelessly by cultivating cassava on another 0.5-hectares plot to meet her children's nutritional needs. Then, participation in a sensitization campaign on the importance of agroforestry practices triggers a turning point in her. She sees PROMIRE as an opportunity to renovate her cocoa plantation and joins it. "When I was approached to benefit from the PROMIRE project, I did not hesitate to sign up because I understood that my cocoa plantation could come back to life thanks to agroforestry support. I received fruit and forest tree seedlings that I planted in my cocoa plantation, I also received tools (machete, file, palm chisel) and technical support for better maintenance of my field. By combining cocoa cultivation with trees, I was able to improve the yield of my cocoa plantation; from 100 kilograms before, I now produce over 250 kg of cocoa per harvest. It's a success for me. This increase in production has had a huge impact on my life and that of my children. I am now able to meet our needs independently, without having to rely entirely on my relatives. My children can go to school with pride, knowing that their mother has overcome obstacles with courage and determination. I am deeply grateful to the PROMIRE project and FAO for their invaluable support. They have transformed my life and that of my family, and I know that I can now look to the future with optimism and hope," she proudly asserts.

The PROMIRE project, jointly executed by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Ministry of Environment, Sustainable Development, and Ecological Transition (MINEDDTE), aims to reach a total of 7,550 beneficiaries by its end in 2026, with 30 percent being women. It is financed by the Green Climate Fund (GCF).

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