By ROSELYN ELLISON
COCOA has seen a 23 per cent drop in production in the first six months of this year, Cocoa Board of PNG (CBPNG) chief executive officer Boto Gaupu says.
This was highlighted during the cocoa board meeting in Wampar, Huon Gulf, Morobe, on Friday
Gaupu told The National that the industry faced a challenging financial situation in the last quarter of 2019 and the first quarter of this year with the lockdown due to Covid-19.
Gaupu said one of the issues raised during the meeting was production of cocoa.
He said for the first six months of this year, cocoa production had dropped compared to the same period last year. “Cocoa like other sectors has been hard hit by the lockdown showing a drop of 23 per cent in the first six months compared to the same period last year,” he said.
He said the industry was expected to rebound this month heading into the final quarter of 2020 to reach 44,219 tonnes or three per cent higher than last year’s crop with export revenue of K354 million at current export market price.
In response to numerous challenges being faced by rural cocoa farmers and key stakeholders along the whole chain supply from farming to consumers, Gaupu said CBPNG would focus on three key strategic projects which included:
- District and provincial cocoa nursery project;
- Remote area cocoa freight subsidy project; and,
- Cocoa quality and market promotion.
He said cocoa production and revenue projections from on-going work under these strategic projects indicated that production and exports could be increased to reach 109,000 tonnes by 2026 based on an average annual growth.