The EU-STREIT PNG Programme, further to its endeavour to empower families, women, and youths along cocoa and vanilla value chains, conducted a 12-day Technical Assistance (TA) mission starting from mid-June 2021, reaching out to the agriculture-dependent communities in the hinterlands of the West Sepik Province.
Focused on transferring technical expertise to the wider local population, the EU STREIT PNG TA mission organised multiple training sessions to build capacities among 749 farmers in the remote, hard-accessible areas, worked on upscaling their knowledge and skills to act as Trainers of Trainers (ToTs), enabling them to further extend, mentor, guide and monitor their fellows on cocoa and vanilla cultivation’s best practices.
“ToT is a facilitating mechanism to offer sustainable and durable technical support to the communities that have limited access to resources and expertise,” said Dr Rabi Rasaily, the FAO Senior Agriculture Officer, who led the TA mission.
“With conducting follow up missions, assessing and offering complementary trainings, we can make sure that the knowledge and skills vested with ToTs, are institutionalised and are well accessible to the demanding people,” he added.
“The objective is to help to cover a broader number of villages.
ToTs aims to enable a limited number of attendees to take what they learn to their villages and communities and help their colleagues, neighbours and other farmers in their vicinity to adopt new cultivation techniques,” said Dr Pavel Burian, Deputy Programme Coordinator for EU-STREIT PNG .
The trainings offered by the EU STREIT PNG TA mission include two main sections covering theory session to introduce the new concepts and methods, and hands-on demonstration to deepen the practices bestowed during theory sessions.
For vanilla cultivation, the EU STREIT PNG TA mission held learning sessions in four LLGs in Aitape/Lumi and Nuku districts in West Sepik Province.
In total, 416 vanilla farmers, including 45 women and 141 youths, from 124 cluster groups received trainings which include the theory on vanilla cultivation, husbandry, harvesting and curing, as well as the practical demonstration on vanilla pollination, management and processing techniques.
Regarding cocoa, the EU STREIT PNG TA mission provided 333 farmers, including 40 women and 55 youths, from more than 100 cluster groups in three districts of Nuku, Aitape/Lumi and Vanimo/Green in the province, with the opportunities to learn and practice low-cost cocoa bud grafting techniques.
The EU-STREIT PNG, being implemented as a UN joint Programme (FAO as leading agency, and ILO, ITU, UNCDF and UNDP as implementing partners), is the largest grant-funded Programme of the European Union in the country and the Pacific region, which focuses on increasing sustainable and inclusive economic development of rural areas through Increasing the economic returns and opportunities from cocoa, vanilla and fishery value chains and strengthening and improving the efficiency of value chain enablers including the business environment and supporting sustainable, climate-proof transport and energy infrastructure development.