Diomanadé Adama is part of the COOPAGA cooperative, one of the first two cooperatives to join the UTZ program in 2009. Siriki Diakite met him and his father, Diomanadé Moussa.
Siriki Diakite: Hi Adama. I see you’re here with your father. Do you work together on the farm?
My father joined the cooperative back in 2002, and he was one of the very first to join the UTZ certification program. He doesn’t have the strength to work anymore, so my brother and I took over the plantation. But he still comes to check on the farm sometimes!
And do you have a family of your own now?
Yes, I’m married and I have four children. Because of the UTZ program I send them to school, and that’s a good feeling. I never had the chance to go to school, we didn’t have enough money back then.
Did you always want to be a cocoa farmer?
For a while I wanted to be a truck driver, and my father always encouraged me with that, but the problem is that vehicles have such high maintenance costs. So I decided to come back to cocoa farming. After all, that’s what I know best – I’ve always been involved in the family business. And as well as cocoa we also now grow rice, corn, okra and eggplants.
And what kind of changes have you seen from being in the UTZ program?
A big change is in the amount of cocoa we can harvest. Now, we get up to 3 tons or even more. Before, we harvested a lot less. That’s because of the field schools where we find out the best ways to do pruning, weeding and harvesting. The project has brought us many things.