Freight subsidy helped revive cocoa industry, says official


THE cocoa freight subsidy programme has been the key to the revival of PNG’s cocoa industry after the cocoa pod borer (CPB) threat, Papua New Guinea Cocoa Board national freight coordinator Francis Irasua says.
“When the CPB hit PNG, big players in the industry predicted that PNG’s cocoa industry would die.
“But a decade after, the volume of cocoa exported has increased from as low as 26,000 tonnes to 43,000 tonnes at year end.
“That’s a big climb in the trend of cocoa production especially after something as devastating as CPB,” he said. “Freight subsidy – the 100 per cent subsidised assistance to see cocoa produce reach urban markets – was designed to bring maximum benefit to our rural cocoa farmers.
“It has really has attracted the interest of very remote communities,” he added.
Irasua said the programme had helped put back more than K87 million return on investment straight into farmers’ pockets.
“From exports, we have generated more than K160 million for the national coffer, from the K20 million government gave towards the programme,” he added.

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