A cocoa farmer group in the Panguna District of Central Bougainville has received a new tractor and solar combination dryer.
Nimani Farmers’ Cooperative Society in the village of Vito in Torau and consists of 22 female and 28 male farmers and was initiated in 2016.
The group was successful in gaining a grant in 2017 to expand cocoa production with funding from Australia, New Zealand in partnership with the Autonomous Bougainville Government and Government of Papua New Guinea.
Australia and New Zealand have invested more than eight million Kina in grants to 25 cocoa farming groups across the region.
The tractor and dryers hope to improve cocoa quality and access better markets.
Speaking at the community launch event on 12 February, Nikki Wright from the Australian High Commission said the grant to Nimani and 24 other cocoa farming groups across the region aims to strengthen the cocoa industry and improve livelihoods.
“Cocoa is an important industry in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville. Alongside other agriculture commodities, the sector helps to drive sustainable economic development and boost household incomes for smallholder farmers and their families,” Ms. Wright said.
Jemma Lala represented the New Zealand High Commission said: “New Zealand is pleased to partner with Australia, Bougainville, and PNG to provide a new solar combination dryer which improves the quality of cocoa beans during the drying process, and a new tractor to transport produce to nearby markets and selling points.”
By Jack Lapauve Jr – EM TV News, Port Moresby