The National, Friday July 27th, 2012
COCOA farmers from the Lower Watut region of Bulolo and Huon districts, Morobe province, are now better equipped with the skills and knowledge to improve yields.
The farmers now know how to produce quality cocoa after completing an Integrated Pest and Disease Management (IPDM), and Cocoa Sustainable Livelihood Development training recently.
The training was sponsored by Hidden Valley Joint Venture (HVJV) at a cost of K26, 000. HVJV is the operator of the Hidden Valley mine and one of three joint ventures that make up Morobe Mining Joint Ventures (MMJV). It was conducted in partnership with the Cocoa and Coffee Industry (CCI) and MMJV’s community and regional development agriculture team.
Institute programme leader learning and capacity building, Anton Varvaliu encouraged the famers to practice what they had learnt.“You are privileged to attend this training and acquire the much needed and important skills in producing quality cocoa,” he said. “Put the knowledge into practice and you will reap a good harvest that will enable you to get better price and market for your cocoa, while at the same time balancing your family nutrition to improve and enhance your livelihood status.”
MMJV’s agriculture programmes coordinator, Steven Mantari said MMJV had invested substantially in the Lower Watut cocoa programme and would continue to provide support where it can.
Mantari said MMJV would continue to work in partnership with CCI, Bris Kanda and the Huon District administration to provide quality service and extension support.
He urged all clusters and cocoa groups to work with the Lower Watut Farmers’ Cooperative Society.
The training taught farmers essential skills in block management and basic husbandry.
There were 69 participants representing all 27 established cluster groups and more than 100 observers from 14 cocoa growing villages in the region who attended the training.