The potential of the galip-cocoa connection
Studies have shown that there are over a million galip nut trees in PNG with the potential to produce around 7, 000 tonnes of galip, annually. However, over the years these numbers have gradually reduced due to factors such as unsustainable logging projects. To counter this threat, we began developing and distributing good galip seedlings to smallholder farmers to grow. This effort has been undertaken in two separate phases since 2008.
These undertakings have involved major galip growing provinces such as East New Britain, New Ireland, West New Briatin and Morobe. Various public and private sector agencies like provincial governments and New Britain Palm Oil have participated in this process. Our main focus has been in East New Britain where most of the galip research work is being undertaken. To date, more than 400, 000 seedlings had been supplied. Many farmers have shared their batches among family members who planted the seedlings among existing cocoa blocks.
Since 2015, we started buying galip from smallholder farmers. Nuts are received from a wider range of areas compared to previous years. Most of the nuts were bought from districts of East New Britain such as Gazelle and Kokopo. Other supplies have been from New Island, West New Britain and. Madang. Data generated has shown that the volume of nuts purchased from smallholder farmers had increased from 11 tonnes to over 200 tonnes by 2018.
The trend of steady increase in volume of galip nut production over last four years has boosted the potential of developing the local galip industry. This has led to the establishment of the Galip Company and a pilot galip factory at Kerevat. The ultimate success of this investment was realised last year with the launching of three galip brand products. These include ‘Natural Galip Nut’ ‘Roasted Galip Nut’ and ‘Peeled Galip Nut’.
This development has created an alternative cash crop for smallholder farmers across the country. More farmers are now becoming interested in tapping in the new galip industry by establishing and managing their galip farms. Farmers have also been advised on how to undertake value chain processes such as doing quality checks, packaging, storage and transportation of harvests to the point of sale. There is therefore potential for further expansion of local production bases of quality galip supplies to support long-term sustainability of the new industry.
Encouraging stories have emerged over the last three years of how our training of vendors of fresh galip at local markets has helped women from remote communities to develop their capacity to engage in small business. One notable story is that of Mrs Dorothy Luana; the woman behind the galip nut club based at Warangoi, in East New Britain. Dorothy is a galip nut farmer with some 500 trees in Warangoi and also operates a small- galip processing business in Port Moresby. She sources nuts supplies from her own farm and also purchases additional stock from Warongoi galip club to process. Her galip products are sold at the CHM duty free shop at Jacksons Airport and other shops in Port Moresby. This is an encouraging indication that galip is already having a positive impact on the livelihoods of people in the rural communities.
With a growing demand for galip as a unique local commodity, we are keen to continue to invest in an emergomg industry with the support of interested stakeholders from the public and private in years to come. This has the potential to drive new economic opportunities for the rural farming communities in PNG.