Figure1: James Maora – Senior Coconut Development Officer (left) and Lopiafa’a Cooperative Society farmers marking and preparing the land for the coconut plantation at Inawi village along the Hiritano Highway in the Central Province.
Reports & Nationalpic by ANGELYN TOPO
KOKONAS Indastri Koporesen (KIK) in partnership with the Department of Agriculture and Livestock (DAL)-Central, continues to support local coconut growers in Central to venture into commercial coconut farming. Last week KIK and DAL-Central officials travelled the Hiritano Highway to Inawi village to provide technical assistance and advice to Lopiafa’a Cooperative Society which consisted mainly of betel nut growers and traders who were now interested in integrated farming. KIK senior coconut development officer-Southern Region James Maora said the visit was to prepare the site and ensure the society was ready to plant coconuts. Then coconut seedlings would be provided.
“We have thousands of seedlings ready to be planted. “We will supply the seedlings once the society is ready with the land preparation,” he said. Maora, while stressing on the importance of the support for coconut farmers, further advised the farmers to consider farming other money-making cash crops and not only betel nut. “Betel nut trading is not reliable and also risky at times. “Thus, it is good that we also have other optional cash crops added to our farms. “This would in turn assist them to sustain their living,” he said. Lopiafa’a Cooperative Society chairman Henry Pukari conveyed his gratitude, on behalf of the society, to KIK and DAL-Central for recognizing the local farmers’ interest to venture into coconut faming. “This is a first of its kind for DAL Central to actually come down to the local level for sightseeing and providing technical assistance. “For that I am thankful. “I also thank KIK for conducting training. It is a huge help and we will ensure to put the skills into good use. “We are putting our assurances that we will complete the land preparation within two weeks. “We have already cleared a 100- meter land mass and will further clear another 50 meters,” he said.