Country’s biggest cocoa project planned

The biggest cocoa plantation in the country is being planned in the Yangoru-Saussia district.

The project will see around 4,000 to 5,000 hectares of cocoa planted as part of the Sepik chicken, grain and cocoa innovation project.

The Project is a partnership between the State and Israeli company, LR Group, and will involve the use of advanced technology to increase yield and production.

Yangoru-Saussia Member and Minister for Planning & Monitoring, Richard Maru, visited the site of the soon-to-be built Momase Regional Nursery, which is expected to deliver 2 million cocoa seedlings per annum throughout the Momase Region.

“Momase Regional Nursery will be set up in here. Hopefully by the end of the month we will have two buildings erected,” stated Maru.

Located within the area is the proposed cocoa project area which is expected to take up more than half of 9,500 hectares of land given to the state by Haripmo Landowners over five decades ago.

The area is now earmarked for the Sepik chicken, grain and cocoa innovation project, of which landowners have 5 percent ownership, and the Provincial Government and Yangoru-Saussia District Development Authority splitting another 5 percent.

“We are very happy because this area has been left idle. But now we will have a major project which will change the Sepik Plains and the lives of the people that donated the land,” said Haripmo landowner, John Nui.

The project between the Government and the LR Group will see the introduction of advanced agricultural technology that can increase yield and production.

“We will have the company with the technology to expand change to all the other areas. And this is really the start of the Sepik Plains Project that we all have been talking about for a number of years.”

The building of the nursery is expected to begin this week.

Meanwhile, Minister Maru said it is the Government’s intention to build four regional cocoa nurseries so other provinces can tap into cocoa production.

Maru said the plan is to increase cocoa production from 40 metric tons to 200 tons.

Cedric Patjole