Cocoa Farmers in rural Sawataetae Village in the Duau Local Level Government (LLG) in the Esa’ala District of the Milne Bay Province, are building a cocoa drying facility that will allow them to process their own produce for export.
The farmers are being assisted by the Milne Bay Provincial Division of Agriculture and Livestock (PDAL).
The man overseeing this project is PDAL’s Physical Development Officer for Esa’ala District, Mr. Toka Rubin.
“The villagers were given cocoa seedlings in 2018, after we ran through training with them.”
Mr. Rubin explained that these trees have now started bearing, prompting the PDAL to assist the villagers build a processing facility for their harvests.
“The reason why we are building this facility in Sawataetae, is because these group of small holder cocoa farmers have been able to produce enough cocoa to meet the market demand, which is 450kgs in total.”
He explained that once the wet beans are dried, the PDAL buys off the dry beans and sells them to buyers.
The new cocoa bean drying facility is expected to reduce the cost of logistics involved in processing and transporting the beans.
Right now, the PDAL is working with an estimated 15 cocoa farmers or small holders in various Cocoa Wards, with plans to expand and bring on board more people.