Increase cocoa production, Tomscoll tells directors

The National, Tuesday July 19th, 2016

INTERIM directors for Cocoa Board of PNG have been challenged to increase cocoa production and quality.
Agriculture and Livestock Minister Tommy Tomscoll said this from Alotau through a media release for the swearing in ceremony of the interim directors yesterday.
“The new cocoa board director  must focus on increasing productivity in volumes for exports,” he said.
“Despite unpredictable factors in the cocoa industry, the board should implement developed strategies that will ensure stakeholders in the industry and country benefits.
“Price fluctuations and exchange rate fluctuations are unpredictable.
“But if the cocoa industry increases volumes through distribution of quality planting materials like the cocoa pod borer tolerant cocoa clones, and improve quality through replacement of fire kiln cocoa driers with combination solar driers, then farmers, buyers, exporters and the national economy will be winners.
“Our global share of the cocoa market is only one per cent but PNG cocoa is internationally recognised by ICCO (International Cocoa Organisation) as 90 per cent fine flavour. The on-going challenge is to maintain and expand our niche market. This will assist in locking in prices to insulate our cocoa exporters and farmers from the global cocoa price fluctuations and the exchange rate fluctuations.
“The challenge before you as board of directors is to note all these and familiarise yourselves with the industry strategic plan.”