300816SURGE IN INTEREST FOR BOUGAINVILLE COCOA GRANTS
Bougainville’s new Commodity Support Facility is generating a high level of interest among cocoa farmers from across the autonomous region.
Grants of K300,000 to K600,000 are available for genuine proposals to lift cocoa production and improve the quality of exports.
Hundreds of application forms have been distributed to farmers and farmer associations seeking to access grants in the CSF’s first call for proposals, which closes on September 17.
The K7 million-a-year grants scheme is an initiative of the Autonomous Bougainville Government and the Governments of Papua New Guinea, Australia and New Zealand.
The sessions were conducted by the CSF Secretariat and the ABG Department of Primary Industries and Marine Resources.
ABG Primary Industries Minister Nicholas Darku urged DPI officers to be vigilant in supporting the CSF rollout.
“You have to work with the CSF secretariat to identify those genuine farmers who will use this assistance to build better livelihoods for themselves and their communities,” the Minister said.
He said DPI officers’ local knowledge meant they had an important role to play in ensuring the program’s full potential was realised.
CSF Grants Manager Belinda-Maree Gara said proposals must be from organised farmer groups with 40-50 members and a lead applicant who would be directly accountable for the project.
Eligible activities include procurement of planting materials, tools and equipment; fermentation and drying projects; better market information systems,
and transportation services to deliver production inputs to remote villages.
Applicants were urged to consider the CSF’s commitment to providing income earning opportunities for women and young people.
Ms Gara said participants in the scheme needed to be aware of the roles of implementing partners.
“In terms of community awareness and engagements, the Secretariat will take the leading role, while the DPI will continue to support CSF activities at various levels of implementation,” she said.
Ms Gara wanted applicants to understand that, due to the high number of applications, not all eligible farmers would necessarily be successful in the first round. However, unsuccessful applicants would be able to apply for CSF awards in subsequent rounds.