Technology vital in growing cocoa industry: Consultant


THE application of technology in the cocoa industry is important for its growth and development, an official says.
Cocoa specialist and consultant Joachim Turkia made the remarks in Malasi near Bialla town, Talasea, West New Britain, on Sunday during the launch of the Yama Salika organic cocoa project.
Turkia, who is the principal of Island Agricultural Extension Services, is assisting locals to grow cocoa in a predominately oil palm area.
He said diversifying into another cash crop was beneficial for local growers as this would allow them to have different revenue streams.
The Agriculture and Livestock Minister John Simon, Talasea MP Francis Maneke and WNB Governor Sasindran Muthuvel launched the project on Sunday.
Turkia told the dignitaries that locals had established a cocoa nursery but processing and preparing cocoa for sale or import would require better practices and technology.
“With cocoa you need the proper planting material and then the technology to use it.
“It is a big problem with cocoa, so you can’t start farming without the technology.”
He said cocoa farming would flourish and earn revenue when technology was provided along with planting materials and processing facilities.
“People want diversity, in terms of population, they can’t survive on a hectare of oil palm alone; they need to do intercropping with other cash crops,” Turkia said.