27 Jan 2009

Cocoa farmers in a PNG Province dismayed over delay in release of funds

11:55 am on 27 January 2009

Cocoa farmers in East Sepik province in Papua New Guinea have expressed dismay over the delay in the release of just under a millions US dollars in funding for their cocoa and coconut project.

A representative of the farmers, Nick Klapat, says he came back to the province from Port Moresby empty-handed despite his efforts to follow up the release of the money earlier approved for the project under the Government's national agricultural development plan.

The newspaper, the National, reports him as saying he has wasted nine months in Port Moresby without succeeding to have the money released.

He said he was surprised to learn that a funding in the same amount had already been released to a similar project - the Angoram cocoa and coconut project.

Cocoa is a primary source of income for some 40,000 farmers in the province with a combine export earnings of at least 10.5 million US dollars annually.

Mr Klapat is calling on the East Sepik regional MP and Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare to immediately intervene the release of their funding.