More than ten thousand cocoa farming families on Karkar Island in Madang Province stand to benefit from a new funding arrangement to increase production.
The money will come from an agreement betweePNG Sustainable Development Program,the national and provincial governments andthPNG Cocoa CoconutInstitute.
Cocoa isthe major source of income for the Karkar islanders.The cocoa industry onthe island was continuously in decline for many years sincethe introduction ofthe Cocoa pod borer.
Farmers’ inability to obtain new high-yield pest-resistant trees andtheir use of out-dated farming techniques withnessed a fall from 2000 tonnes in 2009 to 300 tonnes inthe first half of 2012.
The island’s incomethen fell from nine million kina to a mere K1.4 million today.
This newly signed project istherefore not simply a way to improver farming efficiency – it is a way to restorethe incomes of 10,000 households.
ThPNGSDP andthe Provincial Government will managethe project andthe institute will implementthe project.
A total of five point five million kina has been pumped intothe Karkar Cocoa Project.
The project will supply one million seedlings to 5000 village growers, 200 seedlings per household.
It is worth nearly a quarter of a million kina. The equipment will improver health service deliver in Port Moresby.
The chief executive ofPNG DP, Mr David Sode, said Saint John’s attends to a wide range of medical cases and sees an estimated 20,000 patients a month.
Bernadette Efi, National EMTV News