Sepik farmers learn to fight pod borer

National, Normal


ABOUT 250 East Sepik farmers underwent training recently on how to monitor the pod borer that kills cocoa plants.
Outspan PNG Ltd, an exporter of cocoa in PNG, conducted two training programmes in Maprik and Angoram.
The Maprik training attracted 200 farmers from the Maprik and Dreikikir districts while the Angoram training drew about 50 farmers.
Outspan manager Basavaraj Mashetty said the trainings were aimed at improving quality through the entire chain from the time of fermenting to drying and storage.
He said the farmers were also taught how to identify and manage trees affected by pod borer.
“Cocoa prices are at a historical high, averaging constantly above K450 this year.
“Given that the prices are expected to be stable, it is the right time for farmers to, not only increase productivity but also, increase their cocoa plantations,” Mr Mashetty said.
Cocoa board manager Moses Burin said it was vital for farmers to identify and manage pod borer using the integrated pest and disease management (IPDM) technique.