In keeping to his promise to support the Produce Marketing Board (PMB), improve on Cocoa production and export in Sierra Leone, the Chargé D’affaires of Brazil to Sierra Leone, Kaiser Araujo, has conducted a three-day practical experience tour of cocoa farms in different villages in Kenema and Kailahun Districts to get first- hand information from farmers.
Mr Araujo visited different cocoa farms in Teibor, Kpandebu Dama in the Kenema District and Tonbolu and Malomain in the Kailahun District, where he engaged different farmer cooperatives such as the Maloma Cocoa Coffee Cooperative, Ngoyila Cocoa/Coffee Farmers Cooperative, Gaura Cocoa Farmers Association, Tunkia-Koyah Cocoa Farmers Association, and the Malema Cocoa Farmers Association.
The Chargé D’affaires was accompanied by the Executive Chairman of Produce Monitoring Board (PMB), Dr. James Vibbi.
Speaking to Farmers Cooperatives at the PMB office in Kenema, the Chargé D’affaire, Kaiser Araujo informed them that his embassy is open to such partnerships and that he is keen to work with PMB to support cocoa farmers in Sierra Leone. The Chargé D’affaires reiterated that he has asked PMB to submit a project proposal to him so that he can present it to the Government of Brazil and see how they can start addressing most of the challenges facing the cocoa farmers.
The Executive Chairman of Produce Monitoring Board (PMB), Dr. James Vibbi said that discovered that there are a lot of challenges in the area of improving quality, lack of scholarship in the area of under bushing, lack of pre financing, lack of new techniques of technology and that most of the farms are very old and in need of a lot of rehabilitation and replacement of trees in order to increase yield.
He revealed that the PMB is presently engaging different institutions in the cocoa chain to see how to address those challenges and as an institution they are now drafting an information system that will give real-time information to farmers through SMS and voice messages in different local languages on various farming activities.
In their responses, the farmers said that they are very delighted with the visit of the Chargé D’affaires and expressed their thanks and appreciation to the Executive Chairman of PMB and team for creating such an opportunity for them.
The farmers furthered called on the Government through PMB to continue supporting the cocoa sector in the country.