BY ABBEGAIL WAFI
Many may get this impression of swampy vegetation and would doubt that a village along the mighty Sepik River could have the potential for cocoa cultivation, production and marketing.
Cocoa farmers in Branda Village, Yuat LLG in Angoram District, recently started a cocoa farming initiative called “Farmer Helpim Farmer” and facilitated by Angoram Agriculture and Livestock Bureau in collaboration with the Wewak Cocoa Board.
The ‘Farmer Helpim Farmer’ engages a number of local farmers who are trained by the DAL and the Cocoa Board on cocoa farming.
These farmers are again sharing their knowledge and helping other farmers grow cocoa in their villages.
Yuat is the largest LLG in Angoram with 21 wards with more people venturing into agricultural activity with specificities such as cocoa, rice and betel nut.
During the launch, the head of Angoram DAL, Paul Joroto, said that the Farmer Helpim Farmer concept started in 2018 with financial support from Angoram DDA to organize campaigns and training in villages on cocoa and rice farming. .
“The Farmer Helpim Farmer concept has achieved a lot since its inception and the highlight of the launch was the juvenile budding, only specialists do the juvenile budding, but today we saw locals leading the juvenile budding and that’s a great success,” he said.
“The Yuat cocoa farmers are now the main farmers in the East Sepik under the Farmer Helpim Farmer program with 22 cocoa farmer groups, 1,659 farmers with 42,614 cocoa trees on 68 hectares of land and 31 training for Farmers.”
Many farmers are in the framing, maturing and harvesting stages of cocoa production.
Their concern now is to see a potential market established ahead of the production year in 2023.
Arnold Mangen, from the village of Kinakaten, said he owned 308 cocoa trees but did not know where to find a market.
Simon Anakai (farmer) added that his farm produces good kilograms of cocoa but due to lack of market, he sells for fermentation to at least earn income for basic needs.
The Cocoa Board of PNG, East and West Sepik Regional Manager, Daryll Worimo, thanked the hardworking cocoa farmers of Yuat emphasizing that without the farmers, the cocoa industry would not exist in PNG.