COCOA farmers in the Usino Local Level Government area of Usino-Bundi district in Madang Province are encouraged to grow more cocoa and in huge quantity for sustainable and healthy livelihood then depending on mining or logging industries which are non-renewable resources.
Cocoa farming is also in line with the National Governments Vision 2050 to create wealth for the nation as well as promoting Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) currently encouraged by the National Government for Papua New Guineans.
Ramu Nickel’s Kurumbukari Mine Community Affairs Supervisor, Mr. Greg Tuma said this following the ongoing assistance by RamuNiCo towards its impacted landowners to engage heavily in cocoa farming and other sustainable income generating business activities.
On Friday March 4, RamuNiCo assisted Mr Jerry Borkent a local cocoa farmer from Usino Big Ples transporting more than 1,500 cocoa seedlings to Yamagi village, also in the Usino LLG for planting. The seedlings were from a joint cocoa nursery project between PNGCCRI and RamuNiCo under the Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) program where 5,000 polybags were initially donated to Usino farmers for cocoa nursery.
“Obviously RamuNiCo Mine and other major investments including Marengo mine will be depleted and gone. Even the timbers will go due to ongoing logging in the Usino area,”
“Cocoa is the sustainable commercial crop for the Usino LLG while coffee is for Bundi people in the Usino-Bundi district and not the current mining activities,”Mr.Tuma said when encouraging Mr.Borkent to expand his cocoa block.
Mr.Tuma said Usino and Bundi LLG were once isolated with no road access until RamuNiCo entered the electorate and built road connecting the district to major commercial centres and asked the local farmers to step forward and make use of the road access by engaging in commercial activities including cocoa farming.
“Don't narrow your activity for family consumption only but engage as a business venture and expand it with commitmentand dedication,”Mr.Tuma said.
Mr.Borkent thanked RamuNiCo for the assistance and urged other development partners including World Vision and Walium District Agriculture office to work in partnership with RamuNiCo to engage in impacted projects including cocoa projects for tangible benefits under the PPP program.
“We are growing cocoa and willing to expand but need technical advice with financial backings. At the moment, most of our cocoa blocks have been affected by Cocoa Pod Borer (CPB) and we are struggling alone with no support,”Mr.Borkent said.