A community champion

Leading the way was Michael Butuhe, a retired primary-level teacher, and an exceptional community leader.

His vision, dedication, and tireless advocacy were instrumental in organising the community, forging links with FAO, and mobilising resources to construct the primary school and health post.

Michael's leadership, as head of the village business group named Hambini Village Development Business Group, showcased the immense impact an individual could have when they harnessed the power of community and collaboration.

“With the support of the EU-STREIT PNG, their cocoa rehabilitation effort (led by FAO), production and cash flow in the community will be further increased for the farmers in Hambini to contribute more money to the Village Trust Fund to support maintenance of the school and the aid post,” said Michael.

He adds, “This will happen because the community here depend on cocoa income and we’re confident and very thankful of this opportunity under the EU-STREIT PNG Programme.”

Farmers’ recent planting of CPB-tolerant seedlings (provided by FAO under the EU-STREIT PNG Programme) are flowering and expected to bear fruits or cocoa pods in December 2023.

A bud grafting training also enabled the farmers to improve their old cocoa trees.

With this support, farmers in Hambini, in total, will have 100,323 cocoa trees, covering 160 hectares of cocoa blocks.

They will be in full production in the coming months to supply 5 fermentaries in the community, and further increase the estimated net profit of the community by half a million kina per year (based on Financial-Economic Analysis), enabling it to continue with their collective action on other initiatives benefitting all the public.

Hambini Village's success illuminates the transformative power of determination, visionary leadership, and collective action. Through cocoa farming, international support by FAO, and community unity, this village not only improved its economic prospects but also paved the way for a brighter, healthier, and more prosperous future for its residents. In doing so, they have set a powerful example for communities around Papua New Guinea, proving that even the most challenging circumstances can be overcome through resilience and cooperation.

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