The Samoa Cocoa Industry Development Initiative (S.C.I.D.I) project exists to help cocoa farmers in Samoa.
Set up after the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Leuluaialiiotumua Bill English announced a $4.8million support for the cocoa industry, this week, a meeting was held at Hotel Elisa to raise awareness and seek engagement support for achieving early implementation activities.
Participants came from government agencies (M.O.F, S.T.E.C, M.A.F, S.R.O.S) and the private sector. A similar meeting was held in Savai’i.
The meetings were facilitated by Dr. Hans Maurer and the Chief Executive Officer of the Chamber of Commerce, Lemauga Hobart Vaai.
According to Lemauga, the S.C.I.D.I is all about the building of a sustainable cocoa export industry through co-operation, commitment and innovation.
“What we are trying to do is to conduct more awareness for the cocoas because for a lot of families, the standard of the cocoa is not good,” he said.
“We are doing awareness programmes both in Upolu and Savai’i.
“The key details that we have been trying to introduce and explain is how to use the grafting nursery. We want Samoa to establish our cocoa industry just like the International cocoa committee guidelines.
“So it is very important, for our stakeholders, individual farmers and farmers association to work together.”
Lemauga said the meetings were extremely useful.
“What I’ve heard from the participants is that most of the participants do not understand the project details.
“We are working for the farmers; the project doesn’t look at working against initiatives that are currently in place. We are trying to improve the project on a national scale.
“We are also looking at five years and after two years, we will prepare a review to see if we can still go on or change the project approach.
“I think the most important objective is to be adaptive to what we need to improve our design team so that we can work on this project knowing Samoa farmers will benefit from it.”
The overall goal is to develop the cocoa industry into a main export market.
“Ever since we’ve expanded out we’ve realised there’s a lot of cocoa here in Samoa and so we want to make them feel that they have a source of income with cocoa.
“One of the objectives is to take us all back when we were exporting our cocoas as one of the key commodities.
“This graft process is technically a technique that is used worldwide to accelerate the growth of cocoa. It’s one of the initiatives that this project is trying to achieve for our farmers both small farmers and commercial farmers to improve their productions especially the quality of their productions which is very important.”
“One of the challenges is trying to gather all the farmers. It’s all about bringing everyone together, we don’t want to leave anybody out, and we will not leave anybody out in this project. That’s the most important thing for us at the moment.”
The meetings aime to raise awareness about:
• grafting nursery planning;
• formalise contractual agreements with the local implementing partner;
• engage with key partners in preparation of the formation of the Activity ‘Establishment Committee’;
• agree scope of the tree survey pilot with a local supplier;
• engage with other relevant partners to plan future visits.