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Port Moresby
September 26, 2021
Business Islands News

Misima Cocoa Farming

The once biggest cocoa producer of Milne Bay province has reported that the Cocoa Pod borer has affected thousands of their cocoa trees.  

The Siagara people of Misima Island say, twenty years ago, they stopped cultivating cocoa as they have been lured into the benefits of the Misima gold mine.

 

But after the mine was closed in 2004, they had no choice but to return to cocoa farming.

 

A section of more than two hectares of cocoa trees were owned by the Siagara villagers, on the northern coastline of Misima Island.

 

Twenty years ago, it was the main income driver for the villagers but in late 1980, the Misima Gold mine was opened on the island.

 

The Siagara people shifted to relying on the benefits that the mine was providing and cocoa farming eventually came to a halt.

 

After the closure of the Misima gold mine in 2004, the people on the Island began to face challenges.

 

The Siagara people are now trying to put back together how their lives used to be 20 years ago.

 

But they are facing a much bigger challenge.

 

The arrival of the cocoa pod borer on the Island eventually has crept through this part of the Island, destroying their cocoa trees.

 

A few years after the mining activities ended, socio-economic standards on the Island have dropped significantly. 

 

Infrastructure has crumbled, and the way of life has returned to what it was 20 years ago, before the mine began its operations on the Island.

 

The people say benefits promised by the national government and the mining company were never given.

 

Like the Siagara people, it gives a tiny snapshot of the challenges the Misima people are facing after the closure of the mine.

 

The people knew the government wouldn’t come.

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