The National, Wednesday 22nd May 2013
By ROSELYN ELLISON
EAST Sepik cocoa farmers need to maintain their focus on cocoa production despite the current low prices.
This was the appeal from the East Sepik provincial liaison and facilitation manager with PNG Cocoa and Coconut Institute Ltd, Jimmy Risimeri.
Cocoa farmers have been urged to look after their cocoa crop despite the low prices in the world market and the onslaught of the cocoa pod borer (CPB) moth in the province.
Risimeri said that just like all other agricultural commodities, world market price of cocoa will go up and down.
He said the global market is now forecasting a million metric tonne shortfall of cocoa output, which could affect the global chocolate industry by 2020.
“This would happen as a result of a increasing demand from China,
“If we maintain our trees to get higher output and at the same time use superior clones for new plantings to replace the old ones, we will be ready to share a big market at better price in few years time.”
Risimeri said that to increase productivity of trees, budding of cocoa seedlings becomes an important new skill that farmers should learn to practice.
Risimeri also added that this sharing of budding skills must be gender- balanced and must be transferred to family members.
Budding is a common field technique that would help farmers to produce good cocoa crop from clones approved by the Cocoa and Coconut Institute.
“PNGCCIL has officially released 10 more new hybrid clones last March that are tolerant to CPB and high-yielding,” Risimeri said.
In the absence of the released clones, other locally-selected trees could be used as sources of bud sticks.