The National, Tuesday, May 10, 2011
WE refer to your report “Tubal launches cocoa farmers support scheme” (May 4).
We commend the ENBP cocoa advisory committee and its chairman Akuila Tubal for the initiative to support farmers affected by cocoa pod borer (CPB) in the province.
We spent a month in Kokopo’s Vunamami local level government in June 2009 to assess the impact of CPB on the livelihood of farmers.
We observed that the cocoa management technology to address CPB was available (thanks to PNGCCI in Tavilo for developing the technology).
However, only a few farmers adopted it but the others were reluctant to adopt it.
Although our work was purely academic, we recommended simple interventions like subsidising the cost of farm inputs (tools, chemicals and fertiliser) in collaboration with major agriculture suppliers in the province; conduct awareness on the impact of CPB on cocoa quality; extension and training to minimise the infestation, improve physical condition of cocoa blocks, increase yield and income in smallholder cocoa holdings.
We also observe that Agmark Pacific’s extension strategy was effective and simple to adopt to control CPB.
We suggest that the company is invited to join in the scheme to train farmers in Kokopo although most its work is based in the Gazelle area.