“Entering the world of cocoa has been for me an intelligence matter. Early on our marriage my wife told me she would also work in order to help making a better livelihood for the sake of the family, leaving the children under my mother-in-law’s care, even though I would have preferred her to be a homemaker. During those days I had spent a long time working as a farm cleaner, this was a job that we used to carry out in groups or ‘cleaning gangs’ by using manual methods (with machetes and files), it was hard work that we would do in order to bring the bread to the family. Farm owners - as cocoa producers - were not aware of the value cocoa had and therefore did not spend quality time on cultivating these crops, and weed would take over, making it harder to cultivate cocoa and making us work twice as hard with little payment.
Later, when my wife started to work as a cocoa collector or ‘cocoa picker’ as we call it in Barlovento, I realised that she would get paid in week’s wage what I would make in 15 days of strenuous work. It was thanks to my wife and two other hard-working ladies or whom I call ‘warriors’ that I got the courage to proudly become a cocoa farmer! It is not in vain that cocoa farms have a matriarchal basis.”