KSU PETANI KAKAO LESTARI (PASTI) DESA WOLOSOKO: THE PRICE OF FERTILIZER IS STILL THE MAIN PROBLEM
Cocoa cultivation in Wolosoko village, Wolowaru sub-district, Ende District, NTT have been done since 1996, which in that period was as village program and was implemented by 300 households in that area.
"Farmers in this area have started grow cocoa since 1996 that covers 300 ha of land. But since the spread of CPB (Cocoa Pod Borer) many farmers stop growing cocoa. In 2007, with the introduction of new technology, farmers started to grow cocoa again,” explained Gregorius Boha, chairman of KSU Petani Kakao Lestari (Pasti), who is also called as “Om Rius”.
Om Rius explained further that they have experience extreme climate change that has affected their crops. Currently effectively only 8 months in a year they can grow cocoa and have production. “We have to find alternative sources of income by having cattle and planting other crops,” said Om Rius who owned 1,8 ha of land.
However, that condition does not dampen the spirit of KSU Pasti to continuously improve their cocoa productivity. Om Rius also added that beside the climate, limited stock and expensive price of fertilizer is also major problem that they face. Om Rius currently managing the Cocoa Development Center (CDC) house because of his determination in tending his garden and his eagerness to learn about cocoa, PT MARS have acknowledged him with Cocoa Doctor title.
CDC is open and not only attracting farmers but also tourists who want to learn how cocoa grow and produce good quality beans.
One thing that he look forward from his meeting with Cokelat editors is that the socialization of cocoa and its prospects in the global industry can be continuously done in Ende especially to government, which he consider has not yet aware of cocoa potential as profitable commodity. “One of KSU tasks now is to increase government interest to cocoa and to help them to make programs that is based on farmers needs and local culture,” said Om Rius, closing our interview with him.