The Cocoa Rehab and expansion project.

See live presentation by project coordinator from "Dialogue on agriculture  Cocoa and Coffee Presentation

Introduction

 Theobroma cocoa also known as cacoa is a small evergreen tree in the family Malvaceae. Native to the deep tropical regions of Central and South America, the  seeds when processed can be used to make a wide range of products among them being chocolates, cocoa powders and a host of cosmetic products. Dominica was once a major producer of cocoa beans, presently there are approximately 400 acres of documented fields throughout the island, unfortunately the majority of these fields are in abandoned and semi abandoned conditions.

Cocoa is once again taking center stage on the world market and numerous opportunities for cocoa beans and products in Europe and America is causing much attention to be diverted towards the revitalization of the cocoa industry in Dominica. Sustaining these markets will require an aggressive rehabilitation effort in the short term and the establishment of new and improved varieties in the long term.

    PROJECT JUSTIFICATION

 

The dismantling of preferential treatment for Caribbean bananas on the UK market and the high cost associated with meeting EU standards resulted in small farmers experiencing difficulties in maintaining their farms. Cognizant of the need to accelerate the revival of the agricultural economy in Dominica, the government is urging farmers to diversify their farms to help boost the agricultural economy.

Against this backdrop the Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica has embarked on an imitative to revitalize the cocoa industry in Dominica. The main outputs of the project:

·         Conduct an island wide cocoa census.

·         The rehabilitation of 400 acres of abandoned cocoa fields.

·         The establishment of 300 acres of new planting.

·          The training of some 419 farmers.

·         The establishment and construction of a central buying and processing facility.

·         The establishment of 7 demonstration plots in the various agricultural regions.

·          Provide financial assistance to cottage type industries to upgrade processing and marketing of their products.

This will constitute phase 1 of the project and will be for a period of 3 years commencing July  2015.

 

 

3.    PROJECT OBJECTIVES

 

3.1     General Objective

To facilitate the restoration, rehabilitation and the long-term competitiveness of the local cocoa sub sector with special emphasis on production, processing and marketing areas leading to sustained long-term growth and viability of the sub sector and to once again position Dominica as a leading producer of flavored cocoa.

 

             3.2   Specific Objective:

·         Regenerate interest in the cocoa subsector by providing incentives and subsidies to cocoa growers.

·         Rehabilitate most of the existing cocoa acreages.

·         Establish new acreages of cocoa up to 300 acres in phase I

·         Increase productivity per acre thus increasing farm returns.

·         Construct a central modern sweating and drying facility.

·         Utilize the latest technologies to reduce labor and increase productivity.

·         Establish propagation centers to produce strong healthy seedlings.

·         Generate employment at production, processing and marketing levels.

 

4.    BENEFICERIES

4.1  The beneficiaries of the cocoa project will definitely be the farmers in the major cocoa growing  areas in Dominica. Ranking in order from highest to lowest of documented number of farmers per agricultural region who met the minimum requirement of 50 trees to qualify as a cocoa farmer:

 

1.       North East Region

2.       Central Region

3.       North Region 

4.       East

5.       West Coast

6.       South East

7.       South

 

4.2   The Government of Dominica will benefit  by an increase in production this  should translate into much needed foreign currency entering the country by way of exports of cocoa beans and value added products such as cocoa sticks and chocolates.

 

 

4.3   Processers.

 

5.    PROJECT IMPLEMENTATION

5.1  Cocoa cultivation requires deep, rich well drained soils, shaded areas during initial establishment. Therefore, the project will provide funding and technical assistance  to assist in rehabilitation of existing fields and establishment of new fields

5.2  One cocoa mist propagation Center will be established at Laundary to facilitate the production of seedlings by cuttings.

5.3  Field productivity will be immensely increased by supplying farmers with strong healthy seedlings and training in cultivation techniques, in particular rehabilitation methods which allows harvesting from ground level, land preparation, planting and caring of plants.

5.4  Cocoa production will be concentrated in sheltered valleys, hillsides and where there is sufficient shade to support optimum growth.

5.5  The qualifying conditions for growers to receive assistance under the project will be:

a)      The location must be suitable for the tree crop to be planted (not waterlogged).

b)      The applicant must have the right to use the land  (owner of land or must present an up to date lease agreement).

c)      The area must have a minimum of 50 trees.

d)      Planting must be in pure stands with bananas or plantains as temporary shade.

e)      The applicant must agree in writing to follow instructions of the project and the Division of Agriculture in relation to the operation of the scheme

f)       That all input received will be regarded as being under loan conditions and that repayment of the cost of inputs and subsidies will be made if the farmer does not maintain cultivation practices recommended by the cocoa project and Ministry

5.6  Qualified growers will be entitled to:

a)      Labour assistance for land preparation, lining, holing, planting and provision of economic shade crop material.

b)      Free planting material.

c)      Labour assistance in maintaining the new tree crop plantation up to year four (4)

d)      Free capital inputs, including weedicide and fertilizer up to year four (4) when the trees are expected to be at economic bearing stage

 

  

5.7  Establishment of Demonstration Plots

Seven demonstration plots 1/4 acre in size will be established on selected farmers’ holdings in four main coffee producing regions. Selection of farms will be based on accessibility and most centrally located in the production area. The plots will remain the property of the farmer hence the product belongs to the farmer. The Project will provide labour and inputs to maintain the plots. The project will conduct demonstrations on these plots.

 

5.8  The varieties of cocoa to be cultivated will be sourced from existing germ plasm banks on island. They carry the characteristic of being, heavy bearers, have excellent flavors and disease resistant. The agreed spacing for new establishments will be 10’x10’ planted in lines along contours giving a plant density of 400 plants per acre.

5.9  Cocoa grows much better in shady areas hence during the first three years shade will be provided by bananas or some other suitable commercial crop.

5.10                      Wet cocoa beans will be delivered to the cocoa processing plant and growers will be paid at an established purchasing price.

5.12 Training will be conducted in the form of workshops/ seminars and field demonstrations. The workshops/ seminars will be organized at a national event while the demonstrations will be regional for more interaction. Transportation for growers will be made available for both events. The company will be responsible for training and demonstrations.

6.    IMPLEMENTATION SCHEDULE

ACTIVITY

RESPONSIBLE

AUTHORITY

TIME TABLE

2014 /2015

TIME TABLE

2015 /2016

Q1

Q2

Q3

Q4

Q1

Q2

Q3

Q4

Identify propagation site

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Commence refurbishing of site

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sensitization meetings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source planting material

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Propagation activities

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Site preparation for planting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Distribution of plants

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Training

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Construction of cocoa sweating and drying facility (phase 1)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rehabilitation activities of cocoa fields

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7.    MANAGEMENT APPROACH

 

The cocoa project will be managed by a coordinator who will have overall responsibility for the project activities. The coordinator  has the overall responsibility for coordinating and executing all activities associated with this project. Breakdown of the management approach is as follows.

Position

Responsibility

Project Sponsor

-Responsible for all funding decisions.

-Delegation of coordinators responsibility.

-Award of contracts

Coordinator

-Managing and executing project activities.

-Communicating with sub managers on progress of individual project activities.

Supervisor

-Supervising field staff

-Communicating with coordinator on progress.

Field Staff

-Executing activities on the field

 

8.    PROJECT SCOPE MANAGEMENT PLAN

8.1 SCOPE STATEMENT

The scope of phase 1 of the project includes initiating, planning, execution, and closure. All phases of the project will be evaluated by the project sponsor in that case the Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica. The Cocoa Rehabilitation and Expansion Project 2015 phase 1 is a three year project. The project includes conducting an island wide cocoa census, the rehabilitation of 400 acres of cocoa, the establishment of 300 acres of new planting, the training of 419 farmers, the distribution of agricultural inputs associated with rehabilitation and expansion. The construction of a central drying and sweating facility phase 1 is scheduled to be completed in year one. Financial assistance for cottage type industries will be facilitated through the setting up of a revolving fund through the Agricultural Investment Unit..

8.2 INSCOPE

·         Conduct an island wide survey

·         Rehabilitate 400 acres of abandoned cocoa fields

·         Establish 300acres of improve cocoa verities.

·         Train 419 farmers

·         Distribution of agricultural inputs

·         Provide financial assistance to pre qualified cottage type processers.

·         Construction of central processing facility.

8.3   OUT OF SCOPE

·         The project will not facilitate plots established with undocumented cocoa varieties.

·         The project will not provide funds for cleaning of plots.

·         The project will not enter into marketing arrangements.

·         The project will not be responsible for mentainance of fields and inputs after year four.

·         The project will not facilitate farmers who do not sign contracts with the project to adhere to terms and conditions.

8.4 OBJECTIVITES

·         Increase production of cocoa by 100% at the end of year three.

·         Increase exports of dry cocoa beans by 75%.

·         Increase exports of cocoa sticks by 50%.

·         Increase farmer income.

·         Increase employment.

·         The establishment of a central sweating and drying facility.

·         Establishment of 300 acres of new and improved verities.

·         Rehabilitation of 400 acres of abandoned cocoa fields

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9.    PROJECT MILESTONE LIST

 

 

Major milestones will be listed. The table below titled milestone list summarizes the key milestones for the project.

Milestone list

Milestones

Description

Date

Complete information gathering ( cocoa census )

Carry out an island wide cocoa survey in all 7 agricultural regions

June 2015

Complete planning of project

Theoretical design of project

June 2015

Complete public sensitization

Programmes on media

August 2015

Complete phase 1 of construction of sweating and drying facility

Excavation and foundation works

August 2015

Complete  training of farmers phase 1

Train 419 cocoa farmers in relevant areas of cocoa production.

January 2018

Complete rehabilitation  phase 1

Rehabilitation of 400 acres of abandoned cocoa fields

March 2018

Complete new establishment    phase 1

Establish 300 acres of new and improved cocoa varieties island wide

March 2018

Revolving fund facility

Set up a revolving fund facility to assist cottage type processing of cocoa sticks and chocolate.

August 2015

Complete phase 1

Formal closure of phase 1 of the project

June 2018