SOWEDA trains SW farmers on white pepper cultivation.

Over 30 farmers and representatives of cooperatives from Fako and Kupe-Manenguba Divisions of the South West Region have been trained on nursing, planting, growing, harvesting and marketing of white pepper.

This was during a one-day workshop organised in Loum, Mungo Division of the Littoral Region. The training took place March 10. It was organised by the South West Development Authority, SOWEDA.

The workshop allowed most trainees to visit white pepper farms and nurseries to observe the practical part of its cultivation.

The goal of the workshop, officials from SOWEDA said, was to introduce the farmers to the cultivation of white pepper in the South West Region. It will be the first time the crop is being cultivated in the South West Region.

The introduction of the new crop is in line with SOWEDA’s push to improve the livelihood of farmers in the region. The Sub Director of Crop Production at SOWEDA, Teba Abel Kemba, said: “Within the framework of improving the livelihood of our farmers, we think farmers should do other activities that can fetch them more income. In the past, we knew that cash crops referred to coffee and cocoa, but nowadays with second-generation agriculture, we want farmers to do everything to make profits, as every crop is a cash crop”.

“A kilogram of white pepper can sell from 10,000 to 24,000 FCFA, as opposed to cocoa which sells at 1000 FCFA/kg, which means more money for farmers. The ultimate goal is to fight poverty in the South West Region through the cultivation of white pepper,” he added.

Speaking to the press after the workshop, Epoh Zakarie, the trainer, highlighted the need for farmers in the South West to get involved in white pepper cultivation.

“This workshop was an opportunity for us to share our experience with SOWEDA, to permit cooperative members to go back and teach their members how to select seeds…Farmers in the South West need to invest in white pepper cultivation” he said.

On his part, the Divisional Delegate of Agriculture and Rural Development for Kupe Manenguba, Ngoe Ngoe Oscar, said “...this training is timely because white pepper is a crop in high demand, so we are praying that SOWEDA can create time to train more farmers".

A white pepper farmer from Tombel, Ngoe Jusline Mesang, said the training had added a lot to her knowledge as a farmer.

“I have learnt how to harvest, wash pepper and process white pepper better now. One can plant white pepper and still add other plants and how to produce pepper that is purely white without colours,” she added.

Mesang has invited farmers in the region to embrace white pepper cultivation. The 15 selected farmers and cooperative members from Kupe Manenguba and 15 from Fako Divisions are expected to share the knowledge gained with their members.

SOWEDA has vowed to progressively extend the project to other Divisions of the South West Region.

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