Australian High Commission
Papua New Guinea

Commodity Support Facility supports farmers with disabilities

Julie Patrick is a cocoa farmer in Nagobis village in Bougainville.

She and her family are members of the Farmers’ Cooperative Etanaba 93 in Bana district, one of the 50 cocoa farming cooperatives in Bougainville that have benefited from Australian Government-funded Commodity Support Facility (CSF) project.

The CSF projects supports training, capacity building and financial assistance to increase cocoa production quantity, improve quality and strengthen market access. The project also fosters more inclusive economic and agricultural development in Bougainville with a focus on women, youth and people with disabilities.

Farming is physical, labour-intensive work, and Julie has a disability that impairs her mobility. With support from the CSF project, she is now modifying her cocoa farming techniques to make work easier for her.

The CSF-supported Integrated Pest and Disease Management training and the Cocoa Budding training conducted by the Department of Primary Industries has helped Julie find a way to nurse, plant and manage cocoa clone trees which are shorter, with higher yields and more disease resistant than hybrid trees, enabling her to successfully manage her plot despite her disability.

The improvements have been so successful she plans to expand her cocoa block to farm and sell more beans and increase her income.

“When we attended the trainings on cocoa budding, I felt motivated to continue tending to my plots with these new skills,” said Julie. She has now shared the skills with her family members, and they have also benefited.

“For a person with difficulty walking like me, clone cocoa is easy to manage and is shorter than other tree varieties. It is easier for me to prune and reach the pods during harvest time,” adds Julie.

“Now I am harvesting my clone cocoa and I am selling cocoa beans. It is the start of something and my dream is to expand my block and plant more clone cocoa. I am also happy that I am contributing to my family’s finances and basic needs,” said Julie.

Since 2016, over 50 farmer cooperatives including 2500 small-holder farmers have benefited from K35M in CSF grants.

Julie and her family are members of the Etanaba 93 Farmers Cooperative Society in Bana district, one of 50 cocoa farming cooperatives in Bougainville that have benefited from the Australia-funded Commodity Support Facility (CSF) project.

For further information, including access to related materials, please contact the Australian High Commission media team: +675 7090 0100