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Farmer Cooperatives

Our Chocolate

Wagi Cocoa Cooperative

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Mr Laurie Kolia in front of his innovative central processing unit.

Wagi Cocoa Cooperative is in South Ambenob LLG, Madang District, and named after the speaking language of the local area. The chairman is Mr Laurie Kolia, who is also a director of Mamo Cocoa Exports. There are more than 60 shareholders in the cooperative, formed in 2007, including a women's group that has bought shares to ensure that the women in the community benefit from any profits. This group would like to bring in people to help train the women in areas such as sewing and it is also keen to improve both the water supply and transport to and from the cooperative. At present there is no clean running water for the houses, children have to walk 1.5 hours each way to school, and the nearest medical centre is an hour's walk away.
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Members of the Wagi women's group listen to Mr Tioti Paparai from Mamo Cocoa Exports at a farmers meeting.

Mr Kolia is one of the leading pioneers of cocoa bean farming in the district. One of his innovations is to the cooperative's central processing unit. He has added a second burner underneath the drying area to increase the drying space, and also put the fermentation boxes on a raised platform so that the delivery trucks can unload straight into the boxes.

Gogol Naru Cocoa Cooperative

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The welcome banner for Ocho.

Gogol Naru Cocoa Cooperative really put out the welcome mat for Ocho when we visited in February 2013, with a banner strung across the main road and a series of demonstrations and dances before the farmer meeting. Gogol Naru is named for the two rivers that run through the area, which is Transgogol LLG, Madang District. It is a large cooperative and has more than one central processing unit. All the operators are trained by the PNG Cocoa Board to ensure they ferment and dry the beans to a consistent standard. The units have moveable roofs so that when it is sunny the beans can be left out in the sun to dry, but when it is wet the roof is pulled over and a fire lit in the metal pipe underneath. These pipes ensure the fire is completely enclosed so that no smoke gets into the beans during processing.

gogol-naru-fermenting-the-beans-1-.jpgBeans in the fermentation boxes at one of the central processing units.

Workers at Gogol Naru share fruit and coconuts at lunch time in a communal eating space and the cooperative has recently completed a new storage shed and office near the main road.

Kiram Cocoa Cooperative

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Members of the collective discuss farming practices with Ms Julienne Leka from the Investment Promotion Authority.

Kiram Cocoa Cooperative was started in 2007 driven by the desire to find a work focus for the young people of the area. Previously the land had been used to grow trees for logging, which meant there was not much work to keep people busy. Now there are six clusters belonging to the cooperative, each with their own central processing unit, and 104 members in total. From its first delivery of 2.5 bags of fermented and dried beans, Kiram has achieved much more, including one sale of 41 bags of beans. The General Manager, Mr Tamsen, belives there is potential for 50 bags of beans a week to be produced by the cooperative.

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A house in one of the clusters, with a former plant nursery area behind it.

Like many of the cooperatives, Kiram has its own plant nurseries on site, raising the hybrid plants developed by the PNG Cocoa Board to deliver disease resistant, fine flavour beans. Kiram is in the process of going for its Fair Trade certification, which it hopes to achieve soon as this will mean its beans command a premium price.