My dream is to see my children reach the highest level of education, says Trisita Saka.
Trisita is a registered farmer under World Vision’s – Middle Ramu Cocoa Diversification and Marketing Project, a subset of the Productive Partnerships in Agriculture Project (PPAP).
The PPAP is funded by the Papua New Guinea Cocoa Board with support from the World Bank.
The project is supporting local farmers with the distribution of disease resistant crops as well as providing training and technical advice on best practices of cocoa management.
Cocoa was once a major cash crop in Middle Ramu but its cultivation ceased due to crops being affected by the Cocoa pod borer. The district's remoteness is also a major hindrance to accessing markets, economic opportunities, basic social services and infrastructure
Trisita comes from Misingi village which is one of 6 communities that are part of the project.
She said that the cocoa project is an opportunity and a stepping stone for more projects to come if it turns out well.
She added,” maybe with this project we will have a chance of improving our livelihoods and through these we might also be able to access other services that we do not have.”
Trisita said her main reason for being part of the project is so that she can be able to support her children with their basic needs and most importantly their education.
“I have four children all of whom are in school, my oldest is in Grade seven and the youngest just started prep,” she said proudly.
Trisita said that she has gone past the Grade 10 level of education and so she wants her children go further.
She is not alone, several other women farmers also shared similar views and it is true that education is very important because it has the power to change and improve lives.
Trisita said,” change in our village and community will happen but it has to happen in a family setting first before it goes out.”
She is encouraging other farmers to work together to make this project a success as it will benefit their families and their communities in the future.
Trisita said “I have already received my seedlings from World Vision but I’m waiting for my shade trees to grow, once they are ready I will start transplanting,”
Another component that complements the cocoa project is the Financial Literacy and Inclusion Project (FLIP) which emphasizes on the importance of saving money through savings groups.
Trisita said that she is very happy to see World Vision in the district, adding that although the NGO’s presence in the district is for the Cocoa and Financial Literacy projects; she is hopeful that officers will be able to see that there are other projects that can be pursued for the six communities.
Middle Ramu is one of the least developed districts in the country and is prone to environmental hazards like floods; its remoteness is also a challenge for the purposes of service delivery. Receiving basic health services is another challenge, especially maternal and child health.
The last time any attempt to develop the district’s health system was in 1986, almost three decades ago.
There are health centres in Chingeribu, Kumunibu, Kwanga station and Annaberg however; Kwanga’s sub health centre is the only one providing health services to most of the area’s populace.
Father Daniel Anmarin, the parish priest at Kwanga Catholic Mission Station said that there are registered Health Centres with registered positions but there seems to be no health workers to fill these positions.
The cocoa project is ongoing and has 600 registered farmers. Of the 600 farmers, 107 have already received their clone cocoa seedlings with distribution still underway.
So far, an estimated 5000 cocoa clone seedlings have already been distributed to farmers.
The Middle Ramu Cocoa Project aims to help smallholder farmers adopt efficient, market responsive and sustainable production practices which will improve the way they generate income, and in turn, increase their capacity to provide for their families’ basic needs.