The National, Monday November 11th, 2013
By ROSELYN ELLISON
The Government should help cocoa production and allocate more funding for it is severely affected by the cocoa pod borer, Maprik MP John Simon says.
He said cocoa was one of the cash crops that always boosted the economy.
He said Maprik, in East Sepik, was one of the districts that produced large amounts of cocoa but due to the borer attack, its production had dropped.
“It’s not only Maprik but the province as it is recognised as one of the major cocoa production areas in the country,” Simon said.
He acknowledged that production had dropped due to the borer and that the situation was likely to worsen.
“I have already allocated K250,000 from the district services improvement programme under its economic grant to the PNG Cocoa Coconut Research Institute at Kerevat, in East New Britain,” Simon said.
The funding would help rehabilitate the crop and set up a hybrid cocoa nursery in Maprik, he said.
The rehabilitation programme will include the CPB tolerant cocoa programme.
Simon said Maprik alone would need K10 million to rehabilitate cocoa production and the province would need about K100 million.
He believed the government should seriously consider the issue now.
“While the government is concentrating more on mining and the oil industry, it should help cocoa by providing more funding,” Simon said.
The PNG Cocoa Industry said over 90% of PNG cocoa was produced by smallholders.
Although PNG contributed less than 2% to the world cocoa market, it had established an international reputation for quality, attracting 90% of a premium for fine and flavoured cocoa.