A large cocoa nursery is being built on Samoa Trust Estate Corporation (S.T.E.C.) land at Mulifanua with plans to begin training for the nursery next week.
The Samoa Cocoa Industry Development Initiative is laying the foundations for a sustainable production and quality management of a cocoa training and development facility.
As one of three partners in the cocoa initiative, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (C.C.I.) is co-coordinating the rollout of the project.
C.C.I. Chief Executive Officer Lemauga Hobart Va’ai says they plan to maximize the use of resources and facilities to have a high turnover of cocoa seedlings without having quality issues.
“Probably in the next two-three years we plan on continuing to mentor our nursery staff and after that we turn to training our local farmers. These are the facilities we are going to use for our future workshops to help our farmers.”
“We are also trying to tap into the knowledge from our local cocoa experts. Instead of us utilising these overseas consultants, we want to build cocoa coaches – a programme where we can help them assist and mentor our farmers because they have the knowledge already,” he said.
Great care has been taken to put together the project. Extensive consulting with different cocoa farming groups and stakeholders, over nine months prior to implementation, to ensure a quality programme is handed over to the Samoa Cocoa Industry Association (S.C.I.A) after the five-year programme.
“Our goal at the end of the five years is to hand it over to S.C.I.A. which includes all our farmers and government stakeholders, and in five years we hand over the facility that’s sustainable and hopefully be a cocoa school that they could continue the programme.”
“Youth is a definite stakeholder that the Chamber of Commerce and Industry intend to work with once we get established. We want to get our systems in place first,” Lemauga added.
The project is managed by three partners: Agrichain, C.C.I. and Massey University.