Morobe can net K100mil per year with cocoa: Gaupu

Business

MOROBE has the potential to net K100 million per annum in cocoa production if it can increase its tonnage from the current 4,500 tonnes to 10,000 tonnes per year, an official says.
Cocoa Board of Papua New Guinea (CBPNG) chief executive officer Boto Gaupu said over the last five years, the province had generated K13 million per year and could increase if the tonnage increased.
“Morobe used to produce about 800 tonnes of cocoa in a year but over the last five years, that has gone up to 4,500 tonnes,” Gaupu said.
He said with the aim of producing 10,000 tonnes a year, there needed to be public-private partnership support from production to the markets.
“That is why CBPNG, in its remote cocoa freight subsidy programme initiative, is looking at partnering with stakeholders to help rural farmers in the cocoa producing provinces to transport their produce to established markets.”
Gaupu said this yesterday when presenting a cheque for K50,000 to North Coast Aviation (NCA), based in Lae, to subsidise freight costs for dried cocoa bean bags from rural farmers to markets in Lae.
Gaupu said CBPNG was committed to helping rural cocoa farmers get their produce to markets.
“For Morobe in 2017, CBPNG paid some money for freight costs to NCA and today, is the replenishment of the funds depleted over the years in freighting services rendered by NCA in Morobe.”
He said the challenge was for the farmers to produce adequate amounts of quality cocoas.
“With the government intervention to increase the cocoa prize through its prize support programme, farmers will now receive farm gate prize higher than market prize,” Gaupu said.

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