Koko Workshop prepares young farmers

A three-day workshop was conducted in Savai'i last week to train young Koko (cocoa) farmers in the context of so many young people returning to agriculture since the advent of the COVID-19 downturn.  

The 'Youth Koko 2.0 Initiative' workshop focused on areas such as plant care, soil management, weather management and financial literacy. 

The three-day workshop attracted 21 participants, all of whom received certificates for successfully completing the training and received tools to assist them with their work. 

The first training was held at the Vaisala Hotel for farmers on the northwestern side of Savai'i; it was followed by a practical application of what the participants had learnt at the Vaai Kolone plantation at Vaisala. 

The participants were given practical tips on how and when to prune their Koko (cocoa) trees, plant care and pest management by Brigitta Faafiti-Lo Tam and Alo Kolone Vaai. 

In a statement released by the U.N.D.P (United Nations Development Programme), a 22-year-old Koko (Cocoa) farmer from Vaisala, Levelevei John Korea, shared what he had learned from the training session focused on the application of science into the farming of koko. 

"I didn’t realise before how much the weather plays an important part in running our koko farms until now. The information I learnt today goes a long way in helping me plan ahead and make relevant decisions for my farm," Mr Korea said 

Other participants expressed gratitude for the workshop and what it had taught them. 

“I am so grateful for the opportunity to go through this training,” said a 27-year-old farmer from Auala, Isitolo Martin White

“I mainly plant taro, but also help out with my father’s koko plantation that I intend to pour more effort into now that this training has opened up a realm of possibilities for me on what koko farming can achieve for us young farmers."

The Vice President of the Samoa KoKo Initiative Association, Alo Kolone Vaai, encouraged the young farmers to apply what they had learned from the workshop to their koko farms to produce a quality harvest.

The workshop was supported by the U.N.D.P. and directed by the Samoa Chamber of Commerce and Industry in partnership with the Samoa Koko Initiative Association, the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme and the Government through the Meteorology Division of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment Samoa.


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