Cocoa industry’s relationship with private sector improved

Business

THE cocoa industry has improved its partnership with the private sector, PNG Cocoa Board chief executive Boto Gaupu says.
Speaking to The National yesterday, Gaupu said PNG Cocoa Board had extended its relationship with mining companies and others from the private sector.
“We are now partnering with the private sector unlike before,” he said.
“We are partnering with a logging company in Western.
“We are also engaging with Newcrest and the Manam Resettlement Authority.
“With the reforms, we are getting a lot of investments in the industry (cocoa) and support from others as well.”
Gaupu said they were looking at producing about 100,000 tonnes of cocoa annually in the next few years. “Currently, K300 million is being produced annually. We hope to increase that to K800 million annually.”
He said cocoa had started to be produced in the Highlands provinces which was a good sign.
“There are 18 districts in the country that are involved in producing cocoa with about 2.09 million trees planted by farmers,” he said.
“Some of the areas that are involved in producing cocoa include Aitape and Lumi (West Sepik), Karamui (Chimbu) and Cloudy Bay (Central).”
Gaupu commended the Government for seeing the potential and recognising small to medium enterprises (SMEs).
“I’m very happy that the Government is investing in the SME sector,” he said
“I see the potential where locals engaging in the cocoa industry will also benefit from this as well.
“When growing the SME sector, we should also look at downstream processing.
“For next year onwards, we would like to complete some of the projects that we have started.
“I would like to wish all the cocoa farmers and those involved in the industry a very Merry Christmas.”

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