VELLA LAVELLA, WESTERN PROVINCE, SOLOMON ISLANDS
In May 2018,
The field of nominees was impressive, but
The buyers were inconsistent, Sometimes they wouldn’t come to Vella, and if they did, I was lucky if they would pay me in less than a month.explained long-time cocoa farmer Phillip Nogolo, recounting his days of
selling cocoa to traders from Honiara.
The unreliability of the market undermined production. Cocoa farmers lacked the capital—and trust in the market—to grow at a wide scale, and as
cocoa trees grew old and bore fewer pods, overall production dropped.
Jesca saw the challenges facing the
In 2008, she opened a small store and began buying wet beans from local farmers. In 2012, she started buying dry beans as well.
Then in 2016,
farmers on the island. RDP also provided tools and training to over 100 farmers to increase their capacity to produce cocoa.
Life is so much better now. Thevoiced Mendana Mola, a cocoa farmer and owner of one of the six dry bean production units distributed via the RDP partnership.
trainingsput on by the RDP partnership were very helpful, Overall the partnership has been very good for my family. I can pay my children’s school fees, and we are all happy.
Mendana previously earned about SI$1,000 per month as a fisherman. Now selling cocoa to Jesca, his income has more than doubled.
Jesca expects the farmer association to continue growing, and with it, she expects production to increase as well.
I want to help as many farmers as possible, both men and women. Eventually, my goal is to produce enough to export internationallyJesca shared.