The National, Friday 10th May 2013
EAST New Britain has recorded a fall in cocoa production, dropping to fourth in the country since production began since 2007.
Cocoa Coconut Institute chief executive officer Dr Eric Omuru said statistics revealed that ENB was currently producing only 3,000 tonnes of cocoa a year compared to previous years when it maintained top spot. The province used to produce 7,000 tonnes or more in previous years.
This year, Omuru said Bougainville came first with East Sepik second and Madang third.
“What is happening at the farmer level in ENB?” he said.
Omuru said the statistics were disappointing to the people of ENB who relied entirely on cocoa production as the main source of income.
He said apart from the cocoa pod borer, there was something wrong in cocoa production which needed immediate attention.
“Have our farmers switched to other crops? Why is our production declining despite us pumping in so much?”
“I have seen it, I have felt it, our people are suffering,” he said.
Omuru said there was a great need for the farmers to plant tolerant cocoa plants to restore the production level.
“If we ignore it, the breakdown will also lead to social problems,” he said.
He said the CCI was working with the ENB Development Corporation to hold training for farmers in the province.