Objective 2 of the Productive Partnerships in Agriculture Project (PPAP) intends to foster the integration of a greater number of smallholder producers in performing and remunerative value-chains, by developing and implementing public private alliances that provide smallholder farmers with knowledge in cocoa management, as well as access to markets and services that secure higher prices for their produce.
The PPAP has developed a model approach that facilitates the realisation of the 3 project objectives. Our partners for Objective 2 are building productive partnerships in the cocoa producing provinces, through a competitive grants scheme. There have been 4 Calls for Proposals:
- Call 1 commenced in the Islands Region in January 2012
- Call 2 commenced in the Islands Region in September 2012
- Call 3 commenced in the Momase Region in August 2014
- Up-scaling Calls 1 and 2 commenced in the Islands Region in November 2015
Some achievements for Objective 2 are summarised below. More information is displayed in the sidebar.
Improved farming practices
The PPAP has developed a comprehensive farmer training programme that has delivered 982 trainings to 58,409 farmers (25% females) and distributed 19,763 tool kits. 8,036 farms are now adopting improved farming practices.
The training program involves:
- Lead farmers – each lead farmer is responsible for clusters of 25 smallholder farmers;
- Extension officers – each extension officer is responsible for 10 clusters of smallholder farmers (250 farmers);
- Training-of-trainers – lead farmers and extension officers are trained to deliver training, awareness and monitoring services to their respective communities (including best practice cocoa management, safe pesticide usage, sustainable livelihoods (farming as a business), basic record & book keeping, and financial literacy.
- Cross cutting issues – Bank South Pacific provides additional training services in financial literacy, and Red Cross & Mustard Seed Global provide health awareness and support services to the PPAP communities.
Quick and increasing returns
A recent study showed that PPAP farmers were receiving above average returns from their CPB tolerant and high yield varieties of cocoa. Over 85 percent of these farmers were demonstrating good management practice in their cocoa blocks.
As their cocoa trees matured, there was a corresponding increase in production and income levels. Average cocoa productivity of 4-year old clonal cocoa is 1,600 kg. dry bean per hectare. Some farmers are exceeding 3,000 kg. per hectare. This is a huge improvement on the national average of just 300 kg. per hectare.
Furthermore, these farmers were getting quicker than usual returns for their labour. For example, in the Islands Region 1-year old cocoa were generating as much as K15,000 annually, whilst cocoa at four years old were generating over K1 million kina (based on average 2016 wet bean and dry bean prices compiled by Cocoa Board). Most of the cocoa were sold as dry beans to exporter partners.
Low-cost bud grafting
Innovative cocoa farmers in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville (AROB) have developed a low-cost bud grafting technique in reponse to the challenges posed by the lack of bud grafting tools and materials, as well as the high cost of producing cocoa clone seedlings using conventional budding knives and budding tapes. The 3 main advantages of the low-cost bud grafting technique are as follows:
- Low-cost – the technique involves the use of cheap kiwi knives and ice block plastics.
- Straight-forward – the technique is simple and fairly easy to adopt with proven success rate in AROB (similar to that of the conventional bud grafting technique).
- Home-based – the technique enables smallholder farmers to generate cocoa clone seedlings at their own backyards near their cocoa blocks, thereby reducing the high costs of producing and transporting cocoa clone seedlings from central nurseries.
Since the low-cost bud grafting technique offers smallholder cocoa farmers the best prospects for sustaining cocoa production, 6 bud grafters – comprising 1 lead trainer and 5 trainers from AROB – were engaged to undertake a 2-week training program at 22 locations in East New Britain Province. The following topics were covered during each 2-day training session:
- Selection of quality bud sticks from clonal trees in bud wood gardens and existing cocoa blocks at locations where no bud wood gardens were available.
- Waxing and wrapping-up of the bud sticks in moisten copra sacks to conserve moisture in order to lengthen bud grafting time and also for long distance transporting of the bud sticks.
- Field demonstration of the low-cost bud grafting technique by the trainer and dissemination of information on when to remove the budding tapes and aftercare.
- Practical hands-on training on the low-cost bud grafting technique by the farmers and trainees.
- Brief question and answer session on any aspects of the low-cost bud grafting technique.
A total of 1,982 farmers and trainees were trained (average 90 per location). Of these, 78% were males and 22% females. Participants included PPAP farmers (73%), non-PPAP farmers (14%), and youths and students (13%). Ninety-nine percent of trained respondents said they would use the low-cost bud grafting technique to produce their own cocoa clone seedlings; ranging from 30 to 3,000 cocoa clone seedlings (average 434 per respondent).
Smoke-free cocoa dryers
The PPAP is trialling the use of a 15″ stainless steel kiln pipe to address the smoke taint issue in conventional cocoa dryers and attract premium cocoa prices. The trial also studied the:
- Best temperature for drying cocoa beans.
- Best size for the cocoa drying bed.
- Number of days required to dry a full bed of cocoa bean mass.
- Number of fires required to dry a full bed of cocoa beans.
The study used a conventional cocoa dryer (16′ x 8′) with perforated aluminium tray. One complete 15″ stainless steel kiln pipe (18′ long) with a stub end and a length of stainless steel flue pipe (15′ long) was fitted. The study found that the 15″ stainless steel kiln pipe:
- Eliminates smoke taint in cocoa since there are no joints for smoke to escape through (unlike the mild steel kiln pipes).
- Conducts heat well – stainless steel heats up faster than mild steel and keeps the heat longer after the fire has died out. The fires must be carefully controlled to maintain the optimum temperatures, namely: 60OC in the kiln compartment, and 40OC in the drying bed to slowly dry the cocoa to give the best aroma and dark-brown chocolaty colour.
- Suits a conventional cocoa dryer (12′ x 8′) which are usually fitted with a 23” mild steel kiln pipe.
- Dries cocoa faster than mild steel pipes – 1.00mt of wet cocoa was dried in 2.5 days with a 15″ stainless steel kiln pipe (rather than up to 5 days using a mild steel kiln pipe).
- Uses less firewood – it took 5 well-controlled fires to dry 1.00mt of wet cocoa. The moisture content was maintained at 7.0% which was well within the required range (minimum of 6.9% and a maximum of 7.5%).
Top-10 tips for boosting cocoa production and quality
The Kairak Vudal Resource Training Centre (KVRTC) at the University of Natural Resources and Environment (UNRE) has teamed-up with PPAP to boost smallholder cocoa production and quality in the Gazelle, Kokopo and Pomio Districts of East New Britain Province. Almost 1,500 hectares of unproductive cocoa blocks have been replanted with the latest hybrid clones using a sustainable livelihoods approach. After only 4 years, the first cocoa plantings have returned around 1.5 tonnes per hectare (9,600 kina/hectare). This is a huge improvement on the national average of just 0.3 tonnes per hectare!
KVRTC’s Top-10 tips for boosting cocoa production and quality are presented below.
TIP #1: Set-up the project office
The Kairak Vudal Resource Training Centre (KVRTC) was first engaged to manage selected PPAP partnership projects in a timely and effective manner. Twenty field and office staff were recruited (including 11 extension officers) to work alongside 8 KVRTC support staff. Essential equipment and materials were then purchased to facilitate field and office activities (including 3 trucks, 11 motorbikes, 3 desk top computers and 11 tablets).
Since 2012, the project office has successfully implemented 5 PPAP projects; working with 7 cooperative societies and 1 business group with a total budget of almost 8 million Kina. These projects have provided over 3,000 farmers with training, information and planting materials. Over 100 lead farmers have been trained to provide face-to-face, ongoing support to farmers in 13 different locations. Almost 1 million hybrid cocoa clones have been planted covering 1,493 hectares, alongside 8 local nurseries, 11 budwood gardens and 58 operational cocoa dryers.
TIP #2: Collect baseline data
Baseline data was then carefully collected to describe the situation at project start-up, as well as engage with project participants. Cocoa blocks were carefully mapped by project extension officers using motorbikes and tablets.
Clan Land Usage Agreements and Farmer Declaration Forms were later signed to ensure the full understanding and consent of project participants.
Although it took some time to set-up the PPAP’s Management Information System (MIS), a complete set of socio-economic and environmental data is now readily available for over 80% of participating farmers.
TIP #3: Support local resource centres
Community Resource Centres (CRCs) ensure smallholder farmers receive the training, information and materials they need to manage their cocoa blocks well. Project extension officers discussed the possibility of establishing CRCs with participating farmers and farmer groups (see Tip #2). CRCs were then included in 9 Clan Land Usage Agreements.
To date, 5 CRCs have been set-up to provide training & information services, and store chemicals. These CRCs continue to host the KVRTC’s Farmer Training Program which includes hands-on modules in cocoa best management practice, cocoa quality, safe chemical use & storage, sustainable livelihoods, farming as a business, financial literacy, governance of cooperatives, and HIV/Aids awareness.
For example, 62% of Sustainable Livelihoods module participants indicated that positive changes were occurring at the individual or family level after the course. The following comments were made by trainees during the course evaluation:
“The training gave us a new meaning in life and vision and inspired us to plan for the future”.
“We liked the trainer, group discussions, presentations and module booklet”.
“We learn many new things and we have a big task to implement and bring change to our families and our communities”.
TIP #4: Train extension officers, lead farmers and farmer groups
The Training-of-Trainers (ToTs) is an essential part of KVRTC’s Farmer Training Program. ToT modules cover both technical and cross-cutting issues, and are delivered by training service providers from the public and private sectors.
To date, 3 extension managers, 11 extensions officers, and over 100 lead/model farmers have attended ToT modules on topics such as cocoa best management practice, cocoa quality, safe chemical use & storage, farming as a business, financial literacy, governance of cooperatives, and HIV/Aids awareness.
Local trainer impact has been high. For example, good governance trainings have been an eye-opener for those directors and managers looking after cooperative societies & business groups; resulting in improved governance (e.g. election of new members) and reporting to members (e.g. annual reports).
TIP #5: Support local nurseries
Local nurseries allow smallholder farmers to quickly collect and plant high quality cocoa seedlings on their blocks. Local nurseries minimise transport costs and seedling mortality, as well as encourage farmers to plant cocoa. They also provide an opportunity for increasing smallholder participation in the cocoa value chain.
To-date, 6 central nurseries, 2 mini-nurseries and 11 budwood gardens have been established in strategic locations to supply smallholder farmers with hybrid cocoa clones which have been developed by the PNG Cocoa & Coconut Institute for high yield, good bean quality, and some resistance to pests & diseases (including CPB). Together, these local nurseries have produced over 82,000 hybrid cocoa clones for local farmers in Gazelle District.
TIP #6: Provide tools and safety gear
Smallholder farmers need the right tools and supplies to manage their cocoa blocks well. Farmer Tool Kits are given to all cocoa best practice management course participants (see Step 2).
Each tool kits comprises a strong knapsack containing pruning equipment (bow saw, pole pruner and secateurs) and safety gear for chemical use (gloves, raincoat, gumboots and eye protector).
To date, over 2,500 Farmer Tool Kits have been supplied to cocoa best practice management course participants in Kokopo, Gazelle and Pomio Districts.
TIP #7: Support local value-adding
Many smallholder farmers are keen to add value to their cocoa beans and earn extra income for their families. The PPAP is promoting combination dryers as a cost-effective means of drying cocoa beans using solar power. The PPAP is also trialling 15” stainless steel kiln pipes to address the smoke taint issue in conventional cocoa dryers and attract premium cocoa prices. A recent study found that the 15″ stainless steel kiln pipe:
- Eliminates smoke taint in cocoa.
- Conducts heat well to give the best cocoa aroma and colour.
- Suits a conventional cocoa dryer.
- Dries cocoa faster than mild steel pipes.
- Uses less firewood.
To date, 44 run-down cocoa dryers have been repaired and 14 new cocoa dryers assembled (including 7 combination dryers).
TIP #8: Talk about cross-cutting issues
Cross-cutting issues affect project participants as well as local residents, and require qualified local trainers to provide ongoing awareness and advice. Training and awareness on cross-cutting issues such as financial literacy, governance of cooperatives, and HIV/Aids is an important part of the KVRTC’s Farmer Training Program (see Tip #3).
For example, the HIV/Aids Training & Awareness Program managed by Mustard Seed Global and ENB Red Cross has delivered five 2 week Training-of-Trainers (ToT) courses. There are now over 100 local trainers (including extension officers and lead farmers) operating within Kokopo, Gazelle and Pomio Districts (around 50% men and 50% women).
To date, over 4,000 people have attended community awareness sessions delivered by local HIV/Aids trainers with support from Mustard Seed Global and ENB Red Cross. Mustard Seed Global’s HIV/Aids Clinic-on-Wheels has also provided voluntary counselling and testing services to over 250 local residents.
TIP #9: Support local innovations
The PPAP is keen to support local innovations that help to boost cocoa production and quality. Innovative cocoa farmers in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville (AROB) have developed a low-cost bud grafting technique in response to the challenges posed by the lack of bud grafting tools and materials, as well as the high cost of producing cocoa clone seedlings using conventional budding knives and budding tapes.
Since the low-cost bud grafting technique offers smallholder cocoa farmers the best prospects for boosting cocoa production, the PPAP has engaged 6 bud grafters – comprising 1 lead trainer and 5 trainers from the Autonomous Region of Bougainville (AROB) – to undertake a 2-week training program at 22 locations in East New Britain Province. The following topics were covered during each 2-day training session:
- Selection of quality bud sticks from clonal trees in bud wood gardens and existing cocoa blocks.
- Waxing and wrapping-up of the bud sticks in moisten copra sacks.
- Field demonstration of the low-cost bud grafting technique.
- Practical hands-on training on the low-cost bud grafting technique by the farmers and trainees.
- Question and answer session on any aspects of the low-cost bud grafting technique.
Ninety-nine percent of trained respondents said they would use the low-cost bud grafting technique to produce their own cocoa clone seedlings at home; ranging from 30 to 3,000 cocoa clone seedlings (average 434 per respondent).
TIP #10: Monitor and evaluate progress
The PPAP’s Management Information System (MIS) compares project outcomes with the baseline data collected at project start-up (see Tip #2). The 5 projects managed by KVRTC have helped smallholder farmers to replant almost 1,500 hectares of unproductive cocoa blocks with the latest hybrid clones. After only 4 years, the first cocoa plantings have returned around 1.5 tonnes per hectare (9,600 kina/hectare). This is a huge improvement on the national average of just 0.3 tonnes per hectare!
KVRTC’s step-by-step approach is bearing fruit. For example, the majority of farmers interviewed after their “cocoa best management practice” trainings have changed how they manage their cocoa blocks. The two most widespread changes are in:
- Farmers’ approach towards cocoa pod borer (CPB) management practices and
- Farmers’ application of CPB management techniques.
Hosea Turbarat – KVRTC Manager – is sure that the PPAP-KVRTC partnership is having a positive, long-term impact on smallholder cocoa farmers in the Kokopo, Gazelle and Pomio Districts of East New Britain Province:
“The PPAP has encouraged a lot of people to work in their neglected cocoa blocks. This has helped to motivate and change the ways of our youth, and increase family income leading to new houses being built and school fees paid on time.”
Reviving cocoa is reviving human life
Shadowes Cocoa Reviver have been working with the PPAP and its industry partner – NGIP-Agmark – to promote their motto “Reviving cocoa is reviving human life”. From humble beginnings, this small “cluster group” of smallholder cocoa farmers in the Gazelle District of East New Britain Province now reaches out to 642 registered farmers from 3 Districts in 2 Provinces through the provision of high-quality, face-to-face services that are both demand driven and affordable.
The Shadowes “home-grown” approach to reviving cocoa production and quality are presented below.
Hybrid cocoa clones
NGIP-Agmark has helped Shadowes Cocoa Reviver to set-up their Base Nursery and Budwood Garden at Kabaira with financial support from the Productive Partnerships in Agriculture Project (PPAP). This well-equipped nursery supplies its members with hybrid cocoa clones which have been developed by the PNG Cocoa & Coconut Institute (CCI) for high yield, good bean quality and size, and some resistance to pests & diseases including cocoa pod borer (CPB). The Budwood Garden contains 18 cocoa varieties which are equally distributed to farmers to ensure diversity. Each year, these operations are inspected and certified by CCI. In 2019, Shadowes Cocoa Nursery distributed 74,102 cocoa seedlings to 220 farmers (148 male and 74 female) from 3 Districts in 2 Provinces.
The Shadowes Budwood Garden provides seeds for planting, as well as bud-sticks for grafting onto local stock. In 2019, the PPAP trained 53 members of the Shadowes Cocoa Reviver to use the low-cost bud grafting technique. This technique was developed by cocoa farmers in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville (AROB) in response to the challenges posed by the lack of bud grafting tools and materials, as well as the high cost of producing cocoa clone seedlings using conventional budding knives and budding tapes. Shadowes satellite farmers are now able to collect bud-sticks from the Shadowes Nursery to generate cocoa clone seedlings at their own backyards near their cocoa blocks. The Shadowes Nursery also supplies seedlings and bud-sticks to 32 Satellite Nurseries that are managed by satellite groups in 3 Districts and 2 Provinces.
Training and awareness modules
NGIP-Agmark has also helped Shadowes Cocoa Reviver to set-up their Training Resource Centre at the Kabaira Base with financial support from the Productive Partnerships in Agriculture Project (PPAP). This permanent building provides a central training venue for the 10 local trainers that have qualified under the PPAP’s Farmer Training Program. This program’s Training-of-Trainer (ToT) modules go beyond the business of cocoa and agriculture, to include cross-cutting issues such as governance of cooperatives and financial literacy. All ToT modules are delivered by qualified training service providers from the public and private sectors (see Table).
Mathias Buaten is responsible for Shadowes information and communication activities. He has a Diploma in Forestry from the PNG University of Technology. Mathias recently took part in a 1-week training session in West New Britain Province following a formal request from the Morokea Village Oil Palm cluster groups.
“We travelled down to the beach at Navo and were picked up by the Agmark Branch vehicle from Kimbe. The local people welcomed us showing their eagerness for our training. Incorporating the ‘5 Simple Steps’ approach to cocoa management, we trained over 100 selected farmers in how to prepare rootstock, we also demonstrated standard spacing & lining, and pruning & weeding, and harvesting of cocoa trees in CPB affected blocks. After the 1 week training the people prepared a farewell dinner for us in acknowledgement of what they received”.
Cocoa buying and processing
Shadowes Cocoa Reviver is keen to add value to the cocoa grown by its members and earn extra income for its day-to-day operations. The Productive Partnerships in Agriculture Project (PPAP) is helping to identify new technologies and practices that will improve the productivity and quality of smallholder cocoa fermentaries and dryers. With improved quality, farmers should be able to attract premium cocoa prices. For example, 15” stainless steel kiln pipes are being trialled as a means of addressing the smoke taint issue in poorly maintained conventional cocoa dryers. To-date, the PPAP has installed 15” stainless steel kiln pipes at the Shadowes Fermentary and at 2 other Satellite Fermentaries in the Livuan-Reimber LLG of Gazelle District (East New Britain Province). During 2019, 12,539 kg. of wet beans and 10,773 kg. of dry beans were processed by 9 fermentaries in 2 LLGs of Gazelle District (East New Britain Province).
The Shadowes Fermentary buys wet beans from members and non-members. The fermentary operators have been trained by NGIP-Agmark to ensure cocoa quality and traceability, and the operation is registered with the Cocoa Board of PNG. Before weighing, each bag of wet beans is thoroughly checked and screened. Each bag is then refilled and weighed before purchase. Cocoa bags are left outside for 12 hours before being placed in the 1st of 5 wooden fermentation boxes. The fermentation process takes 5 days (1 day per box). On day 6, the beans are placed in the dryer for a further 3 days, before they are bagged and painted with the licence number of the Shadowes Fermentary; ready for collection by NGIP-Agmark.