The Cocoa Board of PNG is promoting intercropping between cocoa and coffee and strongly discourages its farmers to remove coffee over cocoa in their blocks.
Cocoa Board of PNG Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Boto Gaupu said this at Wandumi village in Wau on Friday – June 25, 2021 – during the official launching of a brand new one-ton capacity cocoa combination drier valued around K50,000, a new nursery house with 20,000 seedlings (seed garden), and payment of K20,000 in price support to the Wandumi cocoa farmers by the Cocoa Board of PNG.
Gaupu said both cash crops must be given prominence and respect as intercropping of both would enhance and double a farmer’s pay packet.
Wandumi is a coffee growing community. Cocoa was introduced in Wandumi in around 2016. Since then, Wandumi farmers are leaning towards cocoa because it requires less labour and pays fortnightly compare to coffee which is labour intensive and pays seasonally.
Similar situation were witnessed at Pugmi in Banz and West Kambia in Nebilyer in Western highlands where farmers were removing coffee in favour of cocoa in their blocks, an act the Cocoa Board strongly discourages.
Bulolo is a “new growth district” for cocoa development with all LLGs already growing and selling cocoa with happy returns for the farmers. Cocoa is grown in Wafi, Babuaf, Sinisini, Wames, Timini, Apele, Gurago, Bayung, Wawas, Bulolo, Winima, and now Wandumi.
Cocoa industry trend in Morobe province indicated an increase over the last five (5) years from an average of 800 to 4,500 tons, generating an average of K30 million in export revenue of which K28 million was paid direct to the small holder sector in the province.
The National Government has set its cocoa export volume target at 300,000 metric tons by 2030. PNG exports around 44,000 metric tonnes currently equivalent to one per cent only of world cocoa but enjoys a “fine flavour” status all along.
On strategic locations around the country including the highlands, CBPNG officers are working around the clock in delivering seedlings and materials, build nurseries and seed gardens, provide farmer trainings via its various partnership and district nursery agreements under its cocoa expansion programs to meet the national target and dateline.
For Bulolo, Cocoa Board is requesting the district to allocate office space and housing for a full time staff in the district for extension services and related matters.