Phama-Plus, board aim to improve cocoa quality


THE Cocoa Board of PNG plans to improve quality of cocoa and boost trade through a partnership with the Pacific horticultural and agricultural market access plus programme (Phama-Plus).
Phama-Plus will work with the PNG cocoa board to improve the quality of cocoa and reduce smoke-taint product through combination dryers, variety flavour profiling, buyer-linkage and trade facilitation.
Cocoa Board PNG executive manager industry corporate services Anthony Vigil said strengthening PNG’s international standing in the cocoa market would add value to the local supply chain.
“Cocoa is an important commodity in rural areas of PNG,” he said.
“The industry employs approximately 31 per cent of the labour force in rural communities and is a significant contributor to livelihoods, providing direct economic benefit to over 150,000 households.
“Through the partnership, PNG’s cocoa industry will continue to provide a growing and stable means of job security and revenue for PNG and cocoa farming households.”
The Australia and New Zealand-supported initiative aims to connect producers to specialty markets, supporting the industry through access to an online flavor-profiling system, evaluation and logistics support.
Cocoa quality testing equipment will be supplied to selected cocoa-growing groups enabling growers to monitor their cocoa quality during the fermentation and drying process.
Phama-Plus national facilitator Lavinia ToVue said: “We’re pleased to continue supporting the PNG cocoa industry by improving quality and production volumes, as well as identifying opportunities to access new specialty markets.
“The partnership also focuses on enhancing the economic development of PNG women, youth and people living with disabilities involved in cocoa.
“This programme recognised the role women and youth play in the cocoa sector and encourages farming families to look at the family unit as an important resource to be informed, included and empowered,” Tovue said.
Phama-Plus has been supporting the PNG Cocoa Board since 2015, providing training in innovative farming practices which maximise profitability and income.