Role of Women in Cocoa Production

Solomon Women Newspaper

WOMEN have played a huge role in the development of cocoa production in the country’s agricultural sector. 
Despite women’s important contribution, cocoa farming is largely regarded as men’s work, and women have historically had little access to the income from cocoa farming. However, a female cocoa farmer, Jessica Sulia from Eastern plains of Guadalcanal has been able to change the stereotype in our traditional setting.
“My engagement in cocoa production has boosted my financial earnings especially in meeting my end of the day – needs and wants,” Guadalcanal farmer said.
Women contribute a significant amount of the labour on a cocoa plantation, including much of the work related to fermentation and drying of beans – the key stages that ensure product quality.
Mrs Sulia told Solomon Women Newspaper that the involvement of women in planting cocoa has been a great benefit for households within the Guadalcanal plains.
“The involvements of local women cocoa farmers in small scale farming like planting of small plots of cocoa helps keep us busy.”
“When saying small scale farming it simply means planting of small plots of cocoa and it also resulted in lessening domestic violence within our communities and family as well,” said Mrs Sulia.
Nevertheless, throughout the process of cocoa production, most women farmers faced difficulties that sometimes may affect their produce and flow of income.
“This is because cocoa needs manpower or more labours to work in the field especially when doing maintenance like brushing and pruning of cocoa branches.
“Another challenge, we normally face in our plantations is on how to deal with a bird, which normally love infesting our cocoa pods. The problem with the pest is it decreases the number of cocoa pods in a single tree.
“Not only that but there are few species of pest found in our plantations that also contributes to the decrease in our cocoa production,” Mrs Sulia said.
Meanwhile, a young female cocoa farmer from the same region of Guadalcanal urged other women cocoa farmers in the country to work closely with their partners to engage in the development of cocoa production.
Cocoa cultivation has empowered a minority of women farmers from Guadalcanal to take part in the country’s most lucrative agricultural sector.