EU-STREIT Programme targets gov't officers

Among participants was Caretaker Provincial Administrator, Dickson Dalle, who enthusiastically attended as a participant for the full five days.

Addressing the participants, Dalle called on male folks or participants to drive the gender issue in the province, and also undertook to personally lead in all Districts, LLGs and Wards.

“I will be in front of to ensure that we mainstream gender for public servants at all levels of the Provincial. I will be there using some of you to influence our communities to drive the gender issue for an inclusive and sustainable change.” 

Sepik Cocoa Farmers Benefit

This has forced farmers to abandon infested cocoa blocks, resulting in the closure of most of the cocoa dry bean exporters in the region.

To revive the industry and improve livelihoods, the EU-Streit Programme in PNG says since June this year, it has trained 1,935 lead farmers as Trainers of Trainers and distributed 116,648 Cocoa Pod Borer tolerant cocoa seedlings to farmers, among other activities, to make lives better for cocoa farmers in the East Sepik and Sandaun Provinces.

Sustainable Cocoa Development

However, this potentiality mostly remained untapped or underdeveloped, mainly due to lack of sufficient investment, support and capacity, and insufficient infrastructures, leaving the region less equipped with resources to progress.

Since 2013, and due to Cocoa Pod Borer (CPB) pest infestation, the Sepik Region has experienced a decline in its cocoa production. The pest invasion has forced farmers to abandon infested cocoa blocks, which has led to the closing of most of the cocoa dry bean exporters in the region.

Farmers Fight Declining Yields

Cocoa farmer, Ray Kwingu worriedly said: “One of my kids left school because we could not pay the school fees. The school fees for another kid studying in secondary school is still to be paid, and we need to settle it soon.”

Ray, a 63-year-old father of five from the Varigu village in East Sepik Province, has less than 0.5 hectares of cocoa garden as his sole source of income. He and his wife, Jenny, work hard to make sure this cocoa garden with its 300 trees pays for their kids’ school fees, medical bills and nutritious food for their family.

Vanilla Training in Karawari

Continues to reach out to remote communities in the Sepik for all to benefit equally from Cocoa, Vanilla and Fisheries value chain activities.

In mid-April 2021 STREIT officers went to Black Water Lake area of Karawai LLG along the Sepik River and conducted a 4-day Vanilla Cultivation, Husbandry and Processing Training, for 100 rural farmers from 20 villages.

The training was both in theory and practical, including Site Selection, Space Marking and Planting; Shade Control, Pollination, Killing, Drying and Packaging.