EU’s head of corporation Elisabeth Gotschi said the funding would support East New Britain and Bougainville provinces, which have had their cocoa trees destroyed due to the cocoa pod borer. Gotschi said the project, called productive partnership in agriculture, will benefit about 16,000 farmers.
“We give the money to the World Bank who is having a much bigger programme already in that sector and we work very closely with the cocoa and coconut board, which is based in Kokopo, East New
“In this project, it’s about helping small holder farmers to restore their cocoa production after they were affected by cocoa pod borer disease - which has been destroying lots and lots of cocoa plants in the last couple of years – and the industry basically is collapsing.”
“There are a variety of cocoas including those that are cocoa resistant to this cocoa pod borer disease.
“These varieties are multiplied and distributed to farmers and they (farmers) are trained in better handling of their cocoa farms so that they can prevent and actively improve the management of the farms,” Gotschi said.
She said the EU hoped to assist the whole industry throughout the country.
“We will not be able to reach everybody as it’s (the project) subject to limited funds. But we reach an important number of growers.”
Gotschi said with the funding, EU hopes to save the industry from total collapse.
“The danger is that if the production collapses very much the industry is pulling out and the small production that they will be able to revived.”