A visit to the lower Watut area of the Morobe Province by the Morobe Governor has brought to light once again the long standing problem of transportation affecting cocoa farmers.
Bad roads and long boat trips are part of life for the people in the Watut.
The Watut region is one of richest in terms of the cash income that comes to the riverside population. Cocoa revenue going directly into the hands of farmers and their families is about K1.2 million kina every year.
While the cash income is relatively large, the standard of living has seen minimal improvement. Infant and maternal mortality rates remain high. This is largely due to transport difficulties and the access to hospitals.
In the last six years, Watut farmers have received a lot of international attention after winning international recognition in Paris for the quality of cocoa produced in the area.
However international attention has had minimal impact with the chronic transportation problems that continue to plague them.