West Papua Cocoa Outreach Program receives Ford Foundation grant extension

Last month in June Source Trust received an extension to their Phase 1 grant from the Ford Foundation for their Cocoa Outreach Program in West Papua, Indonesia. This extension allows the project to continue from July 2016 through to June 2018, based on a successful completion of phase 1 of the program. The goal of the FFCO project is to provide farmers with the knowledge to produce more and better cocoa and to bridge the gap between farmers and market; this will assist the West Papuan cocoa industry to become sustainable, both agriculturally and commercially.

In phase 1, Source Trust established interventions to restart cocoa farming in this poor region of Indonesia, which in recent years has been declining due to aging trees, diseases, and various other factors. The focus was on the rehabilitation of cocoa farms using Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and better clonal material and grafting methods. “On the farms where we worked, we are seeing encouraging indicators of farm recovery, further strengthening our belief that we are on the right path”, says Daniel Liew who is in charge of the program.

In phase 2 of the project, the focus will be on three main activities and expansions. The first is to provide phase 1 farmers with reinforcement training on advanced aspects of the cocoa supply chain that would complement their GAP knowledge. In addition to reinforcement, there will be advanced training provided with skill development sessions on post-harvest, compost, and logistics activities.

The second aim is to strengthen existing Cocoa Village Centres (CVCs) and expand these into new areas. We target to set up 8 new CVC’s in phase 2, tentatively 2 in Arso, 4 in Genyem and 2 in Bonggo.  This adds to the 23 already established in phase 1, bringing the service to many more farmers in additional areas of the region. As learned in phase 1, these CVCs are very important to farmer development as they allow the community to work together and develop their skills and knowledge. In these, and through the use of demonstration farms, CVCs farmers can learn best practices for creating optimum conditions for growing cocoa, thereby increasing farmer  income. Our team on the ground will also focus on providing an introduction to the international market, teaching farmers how to grow beans of a quality that can be sold worldwide.

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The evidence of success to date has encouraged Badan Percepatan Pembangunan, the ‘development acceleration’ government agency, to agree to fund a further 15 new CVCs in 2017 and the training of 500 farmers in villages across Bonggo and East Bonggo districts. Dinas Perkebunan, the local department of agriculture, is currently in discussions with our local team as to how they also can increase their involvement in this project.

This increased interest and support feeds into our third aim, spreading information on the conditions of the West Papuan cocoa industry and farmers to a wider audience, with the hope that this will lead to additional partnerships.  By including more stakeholders in this second phase of the project, we hope to reach a larger audience and increase the scale of our operations. This would help facilitate our overall goal of providing unhindered market access to the farmers.

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Categories: Indonesia /

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