Farmers wishing to venture into cocoa farming are encouraged to seek the assistance of the Ministry of Agriculture.
This was highlighted by the Ministry’s deputy secretary for Agriculture Development, Uraia Waibuta at the recent launch of a cocoa processing unit in Naitasiri.
“We have identified varieties specifically suitable for the chocolate market and this is the particular variety that we are producing and distributing to farmers who are interested in doing new planting,” he said.
“There is huge potential for cocoa in Fiji and the Ministry will continue to focus on production in terms of revitalisation and planting of new cocoa to meet the demand for the export market,” he said.
“The farm gate price offered to farmers for the last two to three years was $1.00 to $1.50 per kilogram (kg). The price has stabilised; now it is $5 per kg which indicates the demand that exists in this commodity.”
Mr Waibuta said with the budget allocation of $530,000 under the Cocoa Rehabilitation Programme, the Ministry would continue to pursue the rehabilitation in existing cocoa farms.
Under this Programme, the Ministry aims to revitalize and expand cocoa plantations through diversified cocoa based micro eco farming.
The rehabilitation programme includes new planting, formation of clusters, rehabilitation, procurement of agro inputs and equipment, road upgrading and training for farmers.