Cocoa farmers in Manita, Makira Ulawa Province, are taking their cocoa production to new heights and treating it as a business and not only an income generating activity for daily needs and wants.
The farmers established a saving group of up to 17 members and included saving as the main part of their production.
Their change of mindset to see saving as the main business part of their productions paid off as from the end of year 2020 to the third quarter of this year their Saving Producer Group (SPG) recorded up to $50,000 in their saving.
Previously, from 2019 they saved up to $173,000 which they did a share out at the end of 2020.
This whole understanding comes after the introduction of Market Linkage Phase II (MLP11) Project of World Vision Solomon Islands to the community in 2019.
The project engaged them on training which included Saving for Transformation Model (S4T) of World Vision, business trainings using Resilience, Inclusive and Social Entrepreneurship (RISE) model that help them to understand the levels they are performing in their daily businesses activities.
The project also assisted them with facilities like solar dryer, fermenting boxes, Shed Storage facilities and other technical assistance that help them boost their productions.
SPG on its part as an established group within Manita Catchment is responsible to buying cocoa wet beans from the members of the community and processed them using the facilities.
This in a way creating small scale self-employment to people in the community.
Testimonies shared to the project included the project has boosted their income generating activities through the cocoa production as a key economic activity in this community.
The S4T model has also been very supportive to them especially because it is assisting them to pay for their children’s school fees.
“With the help and support from World Vision, we manage to build our own Office space. The office space is mainly for administrating SPG activities and accommodate any staff or especially World Vision staff who are going to do work in the Manita, with the SPG with the support from the Honorable, we manage to buy one vehicle.
The main purpose of this vehicle is for transporting of cocoa and to reach out for our cocoa famers and other community engagements,” SPG members said.
The SPG is currently helping 5 SPG member in building their permanent houses. This will be continuing until all members and the communities’ members have their own permanent building.
Meanwhile, S4T is a saving model that encourages community members to establish saving clubs where they can save money.
While saving, the members can also access small loans from their savings where then can be repaid with small interests.
They also have different pass books for different areas like Saving Producer Groups Funds that including Sustainability Fund, Operation Funds and Profit funds and also Sector Funds which including social, church funds, youth and women funds.
The pass books can help them access money from them when the need arise from these different areas.
Annually the Saving groups can do share out to their group members.
Supported by Australian Government through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), MLP 11 Project is touching the lives of up to 400 people in Manita Community.