PNG cocoa board hopes for quality

National, Normal

The National – Friday, June 17, 2011

THE Cocoa Board of Papua New Guinea wants to maintain quality in cocoa-growing provinces because  flavour influences prices, acting chief executive officer Barnabas Toreu says.
He said this week cocoa quality and market promotion was among two other impact projects funded by the national government and implemented by the commodity board.
Toreu said the project urged stakeholders and farmers to produce acceptable cocoa and avoid “smoke-taint” cocoa. 
“We maintain quality because flavour will have repercussions on the price of cocoa.”
He said the price of cocoa was reasonable at more than K6,000 per tonne.
Toreu said officers would be making farmers aware that PNG had 90% fine flavoured cocoa and this standard could be upheld through making sure there was better quality produced.
He said K2 million was allocated for this project and roll out began this week where Cocoa Board officers were dispatched out to communities to make inspections of fermentries.
He said run down fermentries would be closed down as they influenced the quality of cocoa produced.
The other impact project rolled out early this year was cocoa pod borer with a funding of K5 million for monitoring the incursion of the pest in cocoa growing provinces.
Toreu said the cocoa pest was now moving to parts of Lae, Bougainville, Siassi and Karkar, in Madang.
He said in East New Britain, the board had joined forces with the provincial administration in the province’s containment and livelihood programme.
He said about 50% of the K5 million had already been used in the respective provinces.
The third project focusing on cocoa and coffee has yet to be implemented.
That involves the establishment of nurseries and clonal materials funded by the World Bank at a cost of A$46 million (K116.428 million).
It was commissioned this year in Buka, Kokopo, New Ireland and Goroka.
It is understood that project manager Dr John Moxon was to have returned to East New Britain this week to oversee the project.