NAMAU's cocoa farmers say the market price of their cocoa beans are too low. One kilogram of cocoa beans costs $5.
This, said Tevita Niumou, is very cheap considering the process followed to extract cocoa beans, and the fact that it is pure cocoa. "The market price before was 70 cents a kg and farmers had to transport cocoa beans all the way to Suva to sell the cocoa beans," he said.
He said even though there were thousands of cocoa trees growing in the village, farmers were not getting the proper revenue they needed. "Each tree produces enough cocoa to fill a one kg bag," he said.
"We need to up our sale price to a satisfactory level," he said. He said plans to construct the first chocolate factory in Korovou and in Fiji was their biggest hope for the village in terms of cash revenue. "Once the factory is established we would be able to control our selling price at $25 a kg," he said.
He said the village needed a lot of change and farmers needed the extra cash for their families and the village. "All we can do now is continue with what we're doing and pray for assistance to quicken the plans to construct the factory," he said.
Tevita said the village did not want their produce to be passed through a middle-man and preferred to do everything on their own.
Adapted from the Fijitimes.com