Female Cocoa Farmer Janet of Usino in Madang Province was proud of her thriving cocoa block, as it made her independent and self-reliant until the dreaded Cocoa Pod Borer (CPB) disease, arrived on her doorsteps.
But hope has been renewed for Janet and she intends to rehabilitate her old cocoa trees, now that the World Vision has intervened through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program Funded – Climate Smart & Inclusive Cocoa in Usino, Madang Province.
The project aims to share new skills on climate-smart and inclusive cocoa farming, apart from the savings component of the project for empowered, resilient, and transformed livelihoods and is timely as climate change continues to have a massive impact on all traditional ways of farming – in this case, the cash crop farming of cocoa.
“As a woman and a mother who is part of this project, I have about 500 cocoa trees for my children and before the CPB, my children would harvest, sell and earn their own money.”
“Now we’re all down, our houses are empty and for my family, we only depend of my husband’s fortnight pay to support us financially and we have to wait 2 weeks for that.”
Janet said project staff and farmers are currently working on her daughter’s cocoa block and would eventually move to her block.
She further stated she was advised to clear her block and plant vegetables under overgrown cocoa trees to prepare for pruning to be done with a chainsaw.
“Cocoa trees in my block are overgrown, my children and I have started cleaning our cocoa block as they (the project team) have advised but due to the current wet season, we have stopped and will re-start when the season changes.”
The Project Logistics Officer confirmed that 8 chainsaws have been purchased to ease the burden with using handheld axes and bush knives to prune cocoa trees.
The farming equipment has empowered the local farmers and will allow them to pick themselves up with where they left off last year.
The USINO CACAO project is heading towards its third year of implementation and will support Janet and 2000 other farmers like her.