JIS News

Cocoa Farmers in St. Mary are happy with the Cocoa Sector Revitalisation Project, which was officially launched in the parish on Wednesday (July 21).
The two-year project, a partnership between the European Union (EU), the Cocoa Industry Board and the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, costs $71 million.
“I think this is a good project, because it is geared towards the rehabilitation of the cocoa sector and, to me, it means a lot, because I will get some more returns on the cocoa production that I am presently doing,” one farmer, Howard Wright, told JIS News.
Farmer and lead cocoa agent, Harry Duffus, said he has confidence that the project will create opportunities for cocoa farmers in the parish to prosper.
“I want to say thanks to the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and the European Union for the assistance that they have given us to revitalise our cocoa industry. I think it is an excellent programme, and my only regret is that it did not come to us sooner. Nevertheless, it is here now so we are happy,” Mr. Duffus said.
Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Dr. Christopher Tufton, pointed out that the project was well embraced by his Ministry and the Cocoa Industry Board.
“One of the reasons we embrace it, is because it is enabling us as an industry and as stakeholder groups, to begin a process of restructuring that must take place if the industry is to survive, and if the farmers are to move beyond subsistence existence to a point where they earn enough to advance themselves economically,” he said.
Dr. Tufton was addressing cocoa farmers at the Richmond Fermentary, after visiting a demonstration cocoa plot in the area, on Wednesday (July 21).
“This is a good thing and we must embrace it, co-operate with the programme and let us be a part of the transition to a more modern cocoa industry,” he said.
Technical Director of the Cocoa Sector Revitalisation Project, Neville Condappa, told JIS News that the project would involve a total of 600 farmers, spanning the parishes of St. Mary, Portland and St. Thomas.
The focus of the project is to rehabilitate between 1,500 and 1,760 acres of cocoa fields in need of rehabilitation, fertilisation, bushing and pruning.
“To this end, we are training field agents and extension workers and persons involved in the cocoa community, to assist the farmers. We will also be providing fertiliser and pest control items free of cost to the farmers,” Mr. Condappa said.
He told JIS News that the project would, eventually, increase cocoa production from two boxes per acre to at least 40 to 50 boxes per acre, with the farmers focusing more on crop care management and increasing the number of cocoa trees on the farms.
“We are using the latest technology in terms of the pruning and the production of seedling. We are also looking at a new prototype for the fermentary where, instead of using diesel fuel, we might end up using solar energy to drive the turbines that dry the cocoa,” he said, adding that the programme will also provide on-farm training for the farmers.
Mr. Condappa is urging cocoa farmers to take care of their trees and maintain the best practices, so that they can get the best results.

Skip to content