Growers keen to join PPAP


MANY farmers in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville have indicated interest in joining the World Bank and International Fund for Agriculture Development-funded Productive Partnership in Agriculture Project (PPAP).
Villagers in the Wakunai District, AROB, told a visiting World Bank and IFAD mission last week that the positive progress of the PPAP was duly noted and they were keen to take part in the project.
The PPAP is one of the PNG Government’s impact projects coordinated by the Department of Agriculture and Livestock (DAL) and implemented by the PNG Cocoa Board and the Coffee Industry Corporation.
The objective of the PPAP is to improve the livelihoods of smallholder cocoa and coffee farmers.
The project is implementing activities in several provinces focused on strengthening the value chains between smallholder coffee and cocoa farmers and the established private sector partners.
More than 300 farmers have registered their names to join the PPAP when the upscaling takes place in Wakunai District, however, hundreds more are still making enquiries with the project staff.
When meeting with the visiting mission, farmers and locals spoke of how excited they were in witnessing the success of the PPAP in boosting cocoa development and wanted to join the project.
They said Wakunai used to be a major cocoa growing area but was affected by the Bougainville crisis and production dropped.
However, they said there was potential for rehabilitation of rundown cocoa blocks and believed a lot could be achieved through the PPAP.
Members of the mission and representatives of government agencies told the Wakunai people that the PPAP was ready to support the farmers and could bring additional benefits and boost their livelihood.
But the farmers must be prepared to face the challenges and work with the PPAP management and all stakeholders.
PPAP project coordinator, Jethro Apinas, told the farmers their cooperation was vital and they must work hard to help their families benefit later on.
He said PPAP was aimed at helping the farmers achieve positive results and urged them to take on the challenges in cocoa development.
Martin Nori, a farmer not registered with the PPAP, said apart from promoting cocoa, the project was doing well in helping farmers deal with cross-cutting issues such as financial management, nutrition and HIV/AIDS.
Nori challenged the Wakunai people to change their mindset, help each other and work in partnership with other stakeholders to make positive changes in their lives.
“We must all work together to unite and revive cocoa in the Wakunai district. I appeal to women and young men to become actively involved in growing cocoa, this is our lifeline, not mining and other nonrenewable resources.”

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