Hard work, but it pays off

(c) Huguette Tabaro

DR Congo – In Bafwasende, an area in Tshopo province, Join For Water and its partners looked for an alternative source of income for residents in this stretch of rainforest. To avoid cutting down more trees for farmland, we introduced cocoa trees. Now cocoa is grown to the satisfaction of the farmers, even though it is an intensive activity.

Farmers highlight the benefits to soil fertility thanks to the shade provided by cocoa trees. Growing cocoa helps reduce soil erosion and runoff, thus maintaining surface water quality and groundwater levels. The trees also help water seep into the soil. Economically, selling cocoa provides a stable income that allows people to meet their needs and pay for school fees and medical care for their children.

In terms of environmental management, cocoa cultivation helps preserve forest biodiversity, unlike intensive monocultures on deforested soils.

This model of agroforestry, a combination of agriculture and forestry, inspires neighbouring communities to follow suit. But not everything runs smoothly, as this cocoa cultivation is extremely labour-intensive.

Read about it in the testimonials below. Pictures (c) Huguette Tabaro


My trees don’t bring in much yet, but I remain confident of my success. Growing cocoa offers us many benefits. And when I look at those who are already growing cocoa, it motivates me.

Rose-Marie Baninga, Barumbi, Tshopo


Cocoa growing is a profitable activity with a big impact on development. It does involve a lot of work, but I kept at it. Thanks to the harvest, I have earned an income. The biggest obstacle remains the lack of manpower, but it is a project that makes a positive difference in people’s lives.

Valérienne, Tshopo


I am very optimistic about the prospects of financial improvement. I can cultivate 1 hectare. Cocoa trees are essential for maintaining soil fertility and encourage forest regeneration near populated areas.

Victor Maisha Asani, treasurer of the forest concession, Baliko


Cocoa is a perennial crop that provides lasting benefits. I am convinced it will benefit both myself and future generations.

However, the biggest challenge lies in maintaining the crop, which is very labour-intensive. The cocoa trees are also damaged by stray cattle. But I am happy with the formations we received because they helped change our way of thinking and they encourage the development of the village.

Léon Linfula Kitwanga, community forestry advisor, Barumbi, Tshopo


Cocoa farming is beneficial for us, in this area buyers of cocoa regularly stop by. We do urgently need to buy some maintenance equipment.

Bernard Zambi, Barumbi
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The cocoa project is already having a positive impact on our state of mind. We now also combine annual crops with perennials on the same plot. This makes our farming practices more sustainable.

Joseph Uzima, Baliko
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