Officers from the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development visited Metenesel Cocoa Project on Malekula recently as part of the Government’s plan to increase production on farms.
“Currently Metenesel Cocoa Project produces over 80 tons of cocoa beans annually that are exported to overseas market. This is due to poor plantation management and old cocoa trees”.
“There are over 600 cocoa farmers throughout the country, excluding other farmers who are working with local cocoa only,” the department said.
The Government implemented a cocoa programme in 2016 which saw the distribution of poly bags and free seeds to cocoa farmers to ensure increase of cocoa production.
In 2017, DARD identified two main varieties of cocoa that are resistant to pests and diseases and can provide a high and sustainable yield of cocoa pods per tree for farmers.
These are hybrids of cocoa.
DARD is currently developing a cocoa strategy to be launch this year.
DARD is also planning to undertake a national cocoa replanting programme commencing next year with its partners under the new cocoa strategy.
Photo supplied Caption: DARD Officers at Metenesel Cocoa Project