Around 40 cocoa farmers from around the country attended a cocoa grafting demonstration and training at Alligator Creek cocoa farm today.
The program is part of the on-going ‘SolChoc’ festival and was organised by the Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access (PHAMA) to equip farmers with knowledge to improve cocoa production.
Farmers went through demonstration on nursery site selection and crop grafting techniques.
Training instructor Robert Waisu, who has been in the Cocoa industry for 42 years said he hoped the demonstration would assist local farmers improve their cocoa quality.
Mr Waisu said farmers must understand processes involved in producing quality cocoa plants, and improve cocoa quality to supply to buyers.
“Cocoa bean quality depends on how farmers grow and care for their trees,” he said.
“They should also choose the best pods to sell, which determines the type of beans exporters want to buy, and the type of chocolate people want to eat.”
Mr Waisu also encouraged farmers to share their ideas, which he said would improve the cocoa industry in the country.
Meanwhile one of the participating cocoa farmers, Jenny Kiniapisia said the demonstration would surely benefit the future of the cocoa industry.
Ms Kiniapisia said the cocoa industry has a bright future and the training was an eye opener for the farmers.
She has learned new ideas from the grafting demonstration.
“As a woman, this training is very useful, I think in the future people will need to use these techniques to improve their farm.”
“I also feel motivated to move on from being a cocoa farmer to be a chocolate maker as well, if possibilities arise.”
After the demonstration, the farmers proceeded with the second part of the training at the Honiara Hotel, presentations by overseas chocolate manufacturers, and bio security experts.
They also had the opportunity to taste chocolate samples made by Australian companies using Solomon Islands cocoa beans.
By: Lowen Sei.