Mr Jacob has been selling his beans to the Company since 2011. He owns 3 ½ acres with 1 ½ acres dedicated solely to cocoa. He has to feed and look after 6 members of his family.
He used to grow banana but since the outbreak of the Moko disease, which wiped out a lot of the islands crop, he has focused on cocoa.
When SVCC was established he recognised that cocoa would give him a better income than bananas and coupled with the promise of immediate payment, this gave him the confidence to plant cocoa.
He encourages other farmers to get back into growing cacao as he receives help from the Company in the form of fertiliser, spraying assistance and help with pruning. He mentioned that in the 80’s they were all growing cocoa but there wasn’t a guaranteed buyer, so your cocoa would just lie around and go to waste. Guaranteed payment for quality beans is drawing in many farmers wanting to earn a healthy income.
Mr Butler has 3 ½ acres of land that is dedicated solely to cocoa; within that space he has around 1500 trees.
When he obtained the land the cocoa trees that were present had been planted in the 1970's. The trees were at their final stages of production so in order to increase the yield, the trees needed to be cut back. So in 2011 the company assisted Mr Butler in a rehabilitation program to get his trees back to full productivity.
Mr Butler is confident that cocoa is a more profitable crop than banana with the banana price being very variable and needed far more attention and far more labour intensive. His cocoa however is kept diseased free by maintaining good agricultural practices.
Butler is an organic farmer and intercrops with ginger, tania and plantain. The diversification of his farm gives him a constant flow of income.