PNGSDP reaches out

National, Normal

The National, Tuesday August 6th, 2013


THE PNG Sustainable Development Program Ltd (PNGSDP) is making its presence felt on Karkar Island, Madang, by co-funding a cocoa rehabilitation project.

The K5.5 million project will involve the introduction of new pest-resistant stock, the training of farmers in new techniques and the rehabilitation of plantations.

PNGSDP and the national government will pay K2 million each, while K1.5 million will come from the Sumkar joint district planning and budget priorities committee headed by local MP Ken Fairweather.

By lifting production to pre-infestation levels, it is estimated that the project will benefit about 10,000 Karkar farmers whose incomes are expected to rise in line with greater output and more cost-effective techniques.

PNGSDP chief executive officer David Sode and a government delegation, including ministers, attended the launching of the project recently.

“We are bringing to Karkar techniques that have been successful in an earlier project in East New Britain. Karkar farmers visited the ENB project, liked what they saw, and asked us to consider funding a project for them,” Sode said.

“The project is being implemented by the Cocoa Coconut Institute, which will oversee the introduction of new stock, establish farmer training facilities, supervise training of farmers in cocoa pod borer management and plantation rehabilitation.”

The impact of the cocoa pod borer has been devastating for local farmers, with the island cocoa harvest falling from 2,000 tonnes in 2009 to 850 tonnes in 2012. 

Income has fallen from K9 million in 2009 to a mere K3.6 million today.

Kulili and Biapi plantation estates have been contracted to establish new nurseries and budwood gardens to supply new pest-resistant seedlings.

One million seedlings will go to 5,000 village growers (200 seedlings per household) under PNGSDP funding and a further one million will be supplied under government funding to smallholder and plantation growers.

Dogowan and Wokilon plantations will be rehabilitated under the institute’s supervision.