After harvesting all the cocoa, it’s time to crack the pods and get the beans out.

But pod-cracking day in Aponoapono, like in other Ghanaian cocoa communities, is about more than cracking cocoa pods. 

It’s a family or community affair. Like a reunion.


A Ghanaian man uses a stick to break open a cocoa pod on a cocoa farm in Ghana.

Stephen Ashia, manager of ABOCFA cooperative, cracks open a ripe cocoa pod with a stick; photo by Kristy Leissle



Neighbors helping neighbors


The cocoa farmer invites friends and hires farmhands, and they all sit together around a large heap of freshly harvested cocoa. Then, one by one, they crack open the yellow pods.

They work amidst a lot of chatter and laughter. Neighbors and friends talk about common issues they’re battling in the community, and discuss how to solve them.

People share stories about important events in their lives.

At certain points, there’s total silence while everyone is focused on getting more work done.




A festive atmosphere!


But the atmosphere always changes back to festive – there are a lot of jokes, some teasing, always laughter. With any luck, there is a “DJ” who plays music, and everyone sings along, or dances to the beats. 

At the end of the day, the farmers have a lot of cocoa beans ready for drying. But they also have spent a great time bonding with one another. 

If you pass by a group of people cracking pods, don’t forget to shout “Ayekooo!!” They’ll be happy to get your encouragement for all their hard work.