Milne Bay keen on developing cocoa

Business

THE Milne Bay government will make sure that cocoa puts money into people’s pockets, deputy governor Wilfred Giarua says.
Giarua said the signing of an agreement for the nursery and freight subsidy projects would make a big impact on lives of people in Milne Bay.
He said agriculture was the lifeline of the 85 per cent of the population living in rural areas.
“The prospect for cocoa is bright and if we do the right things, cocoa will take off in Milne Bay,” he said.
He said cocoa cultivation began in 1960s in the province and small-holder production expanded in the four districts of Alotau.
When oil palm came in, he said cocoa development slowed down and by 2000, it had become stagnant.
Giarua blamed it on reduced extension services as a result of financial and manpower constraints, lack of marketing infrastructure and proper farming tools, and lack of government support and start-up capitals.
Giarua thanked the Department of Agriculture and Livestock for assisting with the freight subsidy of K50,000. “Our administration is here to make sure that it carried out all the activities that we have planned for in cocoa development.”

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