Authority keen to increase production


THE Cocoa Board is taking steps to ensure there is increased production in the country.
Chief executive Boto Gaupu said the country recorded a drop in volume to 33,000 tonnes during the cocoa pod borer strike period between 2006  and 2012.
It is now regaining production at the 40,000 tonnes per annum mark.
He said they planned to further increase volume by between five to 10 per cent from next year.
The Cocoa Board is taking steps to increase production and introduce combination (solar) driers.
Interventions in the medium term will reduce smoke taints and improve the quality of processed cocoa.
He said unlike coffee, there was no central quality checkpoint for exported cocoa.
“It has always been left to the market to decide the quality.”
He also expressed concern that extension officers did not spending quality time with growers in the villages. The ratio is one officer to 350,000 farmers.
“PNG accounts for only one per cent or 40,000 metric tonnes annually of the world’s total cocoa production,” he said.
“Cocoa employs 2.5 million smallholder farmers, generating some K350 million in export earning annually. It is rated as 90 per cent fine flavour by the ICCO).”
Gaupu urged farmers and stakeholders to follow international best practices at all times so as to maintain standard.