Sepik farmers inspired

The study tour to Bougainville was an eye-opening and inspirational experience for the Sepik farmers, who interacted with various stakeholders in the cocoa value chain in Bougainville.

The visit was facilitated by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) under the European Union-funded STREIT PNG Programme.

The Sepik cocoa farmers expressed their gratitude for the opportunity to learn from their counterparts in Bougainville. They said they would apply the knowledge and skills they gained in their own cocoa businesses, including cocoa block management, downstream processing, farm business diversification, and producing consistent quality cocoa beans to access premium markets.

“I’m thankful for the opportunity to learn about the cocoa industry here (Bougainville) and also to visit the beautiful cocoa exhibition. We’ve learned a lot in terms of block management, and downstream processing. On a personal note, I admire what they have done here. One thing I will take back to Nuku (West Sepik) to tell my group is the importance of good block management for producing quality cocoa beans,” said Nimrod Wangu, who represents the Sultongo Cooperative Society of Nuku District in West Sepik Province.

“For me, treating cocoa farming as a serious business is something I’ve learned. Also, the population here in general have the right mindset and attitude and these are some valuable lessons to take back from this exposure visit,” said Sussie Noguru of the Bogumatai Women Cooperative Society in Wewak District of East Sepik Province.

EU-STREIT PNG Programme, led by FAO, is the largest grant-funded programme of the European Union in Papua New Guinea.

It aims to improve the livelihoods of farmers in East and West Sepik provinces by focusing on increasing sustainable and inclusive economic development of rural areas through improved economic returns and agri-business development environment in cocoa, vanilla, and fisheries value chains.

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