Cocoa, coconut project launched

The National, Tuesday July 12th, 2016

A COCOA and coconut rehabilitation project has been established in the Hurtol-Talis ward in the Nimamar local level government area of Lihir, to revive the production of the two cash crops.
The project worth K170,000 was launched last Wednesday with focus on preparing locals for life after the Lihir Gold Mine.
Chairman for agriculture in the Hurtol-Talis ward Gabriel Tastas said interest and production of the two crops had dropped drastically when the mine began exploration on the island as people turned to relying on royalty payments rather than working on the land.
Tastas said the village planning committee  decided to rehabilitate the agriculture project in the ward which has a population of 8,000.
He said locals received vehicles and boats but these did not last long and did not benefit the people.
Tastas said after a trip to East New Britain, they realised that ENB did not have any mines but agriculture projects heavily implemented.
He said ENB had proved that it could still produce cocoa and manage the Cocoa pod borer.
He hoped this would also be implemented in Lihir.
Gesley Rivan, manager of Eco-link Consultancy Services engaged in providing technical assistance in setting up a nursery in the ward, said it took one year to set up the project and 11,000 cocoa clone seedlings were sourced from PNGCCI and shipped to Lihir.
Rivan said the 11,000 cocoa seedlings would cater for 17 hectares Р able to produce 34 tonnes annually. With the current price of K500 per bag, this could earn about K272,000 annually.
Rivan said the planning committee also plans to set up a bud wood garden, cocoa fermentery, fish farming, piggery, poultry and solar power.