The American Samoa Department of Agriculture has confirmed the federal government is funding the cocoa planting project which is being carried out by some local residents on their privately owned lands.
Agriculture director Lealao Purcell says the U.S. Department of Agriculture has provided more than 200,000 US dollars for the cocoa planting project, which is doing well with plans for expansion next year.
Government data shows that more than 2,100 cocoa plants have been planted at different farmlands on the main island of Tutuila with the largest cocoa farms at the village of Fagasa and Pago Pago.
Lealao says the department is happy that more cocoa plants are now planted as the government moves towards providing a new economic development product for the Territory thru cocoa farming.
He says the department is pushing for local residents to become cocoa farmers so that there is a different type of farming in the territory besides the usual plantations of taro, bananas, vegetables and other agriculture produce.