Young cocoa farmers study weather, climate
More than 40 young cocoa farmers have benefited from a two-week training workshop in Savaii on how weather and climate can influence and impact their farms.
The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (S.P.R.E.P.) announced the results of the programme in a statement.
S.P.R.E.P. said that the Youth Koko [cocoa] Initiative is organised by the Samoa Chamber of Commerce.
It is funded by the United Nations Development Program (U.N.D.P.) with the vision to support young koko farmers to excel in their farming capacities and to support their livelihoods.
In the face of climate change and extreme weather events, the Samoa Chamber, The United Nations Development Program, S.P.R.E.P. and the Samoa Meteorological Service (S.M.S.) joined forces to promote the young farmer’s understanding of the roles played by weather, climate and climate change in farming. The goal of the programme is to inform planning and responding to weather and climate-related hazards.
The inclusion of the Samoa National Meteorological Services in the Youth Koko Initiative programme is a move to bring climate sciences and tailored forecasts and information to meet the needs of individuals.
A representative from Meteorological Services, Kotoni Faasau, said informing young farmers that understanding the difference between weather, climate variability and climate change was helping young farmers.
“When you understand the information, you can plan better and prepare not just for this year but you plan ahead,” he added.
This is the first time the S.M.S. and S.P.R.E.P. have joined together with the Samoa Chamber and the U.N.D.P. to include climate and weather information to direct young farmers towards other useful sources of information.
One of the cocoa farmers, Temukisa Tofilau, applauded the initiative, saying that she had learned so much about the importance of weather and climate patterns and how this information can help her with pruning and managing pests and diseases affecting her cocoa plants.
“I have also learned about the language and terms used by the Met Service in their bulletins, and I can now understand, follow and use the information produced by the Met Office,” she said.
Those sentiments were echoed by other participants.
The Koko initiative will be extended to young people in Upolu to replicate the success of the Savai’i workshops and sharing knowledge from across the country.
S.P.R.E.P. is the secretariat to the Pacific Meteorological Council, which supports the coordination and implementation of weather, climate and climate change science-related initiatives in the Pacific region.