August 24, 2012
Cocoa plants to be distributed to farmers next month

Sixty thousand cocoa plants are expected to be ready for distribution to farmers by mid-September.{{more}}

Manager of the St Vincent Cocoa Company Andrew Hadley gave confirmation of this on Tuesday, during a tour of the cocoa nursery located at the Orange Hill Propagation Centre.

“We don’t want to try and re-invent the wheel. In other words, we are using land and resources in which the ministry (of Agriculture) has to get the plants ready to go out.

“I’m very, very happy with the results that we’ve got so far. As you can see, we have 40,000 plants ready,” Hadley told officials of the Ministry of Agriculture and the media.

When planting cocoa for the first year, Hadley stressed that shade will be the most important factor.

He explained that without shade, the cocoa plants will “dry up, burn and die.”

“So, the preference for farmers to receive the plant material, must go to farmers who have shade in their fields already.

“That is the most important factor. Because we don’t want to plant these plants and they die in the field because they had no shade,” Hadley stated.

The cocoa company manager also made it clear that the cocoa project is progressing and they are “ready to go.”

It was revealed that by end of the year, a total of 120 acres of cocoa will be planted.

“By next year, with the

collaboration with the ministry, we should go up to at least 800 to 1,000 acres,” Hadley.

Alistair “Ras John” John, a landscaper and nursery producer who has been working in collaboration with the Cocoa Company, described the cocoa project as an “important diversification” for farmers here.

John, who says he’s been involved in the cocoa industry from a tender age – after being around his father, who was also a cocoa planter, is encouraging other persons to become involved, because of the financial benefits that can be gained.

“In this industry, I know we can make a lot of money. Boost up the country’s economy, because right now, the farmers them need some serious help. And I will like to see the farmers make some money and the investors at the same time, because it’s not right that the investors make the money and the farmers don’t make no money…,” he said.

Ras John also advised the authorities to ensure that the project is properly managed for the benefit of all involved.

“It’s a very good project. I’m involved in the nursing of the plants and I have a lot of seeds [at] home and germination [is] going on fine and nice…

“I will encourage farmers to just go brave and do the right things. Don’t be afraid to work hard. Hard work brings success… this is our livelihood and we have to make money out of it,” John added. (AA)