Cocoa grants applications open
Applications for grants are open for cocoa farmer groups in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, providing them with opportunities to increase quantity, improve quality and get better access to markets.
The grants scheme is an initiative of the Autonomous Bougainville Government and the governments of Papua New Guinea, Australia and New Zealand, and implemented through the Bougainville Partnership’s Commodity Support Facility.
The announcement follows the completion of the first round of grants which supported 25 farmers groups from 2017-2020.
Australian High Commissioner Jon Philp said the program is part of a partnership to foster agriculture and economic development in Bougainville.
“Australia is delighted to support this program’s continuation,” he said.
“Improving agricultural yields can play an important role in broader economic and social development.
“Strengthening the cocoa industry improves the livelihoods of individuals, helps to build stronger communities and contributes to Papua New Guinea as a whole.”
New Zealand High Commissioner Philip Taula said the Commodity Support Facility grants program is stronger than ever and will assist farmers to make sustainable improvements to their operations.
“Cocoa is an important industry in Bougainville,” he stated.
“Alongside other agricultural commodities, the sector helps to drive sustainable economic development and boosts household incomes for families.
“New Zealand is proud to continue to partner with the Autonomous Bougainville Government, and the PNG and Australian governments to support the growth of the cocoa sector.”
Farmer groups have been encouraged to submit concepts to be considered for grants, which will be worth between K300,000 - K500,000.
This round of grants will prioritise income generation activities for women and young people. Past activities have included training on pre- and post-harvest cocoa block management, and business management and development.
Farmers groups have previously benefited from the construction and rehabilitation of fermentation and drying facilities, new farming tools and equipment, and the provision of pest-resistant seedlings.
They have also seen improvements to market access and transportation services, as well as boosts to cocoa quality and traceability.