Monday, May 30, 2011

Crop diseases hit Madang

THE cocoa pod borer and the Bogia coconut syndrome have struck Madang, threatening efforts by the Kokonas Industri Koporesen (KIK) and the Cocoa and Coconut Institute (CCI) for the province to be the leading cocoa and coconut exporters, The National reports.

KIK and CCI chairman Sir Makena Geno last week told of the re-emergence of the diseases on Karkar and the other five districts.

Sir Makena was in the province for the launch of the cocoa coconut improvement project and the presentation of five sawmills to five vocational schools – Karkar, Danip, Talidik, Ramu and Simbai.

He said the two diseases would be destructive if serious networking between educational institutions, business houses, civil society organisations, non-governmental organisations and stakeholders did not exist.

Extending an invitation for these bodies to join in the fight, Sir Arnold Amet gave K1.32 million for the provision of 2,000,000 cocoa trees and 100,000 coconut trees to be provided by CCI and KIK under a memorandum of agreement signed that day.

Sir Makeno, in accepting the K500,000 cheque for seedlings and nursery materials to be provided with technical expertise for interested  farmers in the six districts, said these two pressing issues would now be their main focus.

He said his area of concern would be to eradicate these diseases before “it kills the industry as well as the growers’ interest”.

Of the money, K250,000 will be for a coconut mill at Murunas; K500,000 for cocoa seeds; K125,000 each for the two new 10-seater vehicles, one for the police and the other for monitoring the projects by the provincial government.

Through this MoA, the Madang government aims to raise an annual export of K16 million, at K8,000 per tonne with a target population of 48,000 people to be impacted by the cocoa and coconut improvement programme.

He said K820,000 had been spent to get the five sawmills to be set up at the vocational schools with training to be provided for locals under the technical vocational education training.

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