Thursday, December 18, 2014

Papua New Guinea’s fine cocoa back from the brink of disaster

Updated 17 December 2014, 17:33 AEDT

Australia Plus
Farmers are a tough breed and when the whole community’s livelihood is at stake there’s no such thing as giving up.
The saying about the tough getting going when the going gets tough could have been created with Odelia Virua Taman in mind. 
Cocoa farmer Odelia Virua Taman tells Food Bowl presenters Anath Gopal and Leesa Burton how her community overcame adversity.
The cocoa farmer from Papua New Guinea’s New Britain province summoned her courage and her community to face a threat to the coca crop that put their lifestyle and livelihood in jeopardy.
A moth pest called the Cocoa Pod Borer (CPB) was detected in PNG in 2006.  It ripped the heart out of the economy and East New Britain which had been responsible for more than 50 per cent of PNG’s cocoa production.
“It was disaster. Every time I speak about it I remember the pain and suffering. We had banana for breakfast, banana for lunch and banana for dinner. We went through a period of a terrible time,” says Odelia.
But thanks to a community commitment to manage the pest driven by farmers such as Odelia, who is secretary of the Tavilo Farmers Cooperative, the crop is now thriving and known for its quality.
For Odelia the motivation to succeed was clear cut:  “(I hope) for everybody to have a high standard of living. To be able to afford school, education for your children, hospital, bills; to be able to have electricity.  These are basic requirements,” she says.
“You have a goal in front of you and you go for it.  That’s Odelia, that’s me.”
Odelia’s story is just one aspect of Papua New Guinea's agricultural success covered in Episode 2 of Food Bowl on Australia Plus Television.  If you miss the broadcast catch the program later on our Watch Now service.
- See more at:’s-fine-cocoa-back-from-the-brink-of-disaster/1400019#sthash.ekFx3VDk.zKTITB2s.dpuf

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