Process cocoa locally before exporting, says Maru


YANGORU-Saussia MP Richard Maru says all cocoa produced in the country must be processed into final products before being exported.
He said Papua New Guinea was currently the 11th largest producer of cocoa in the world, exporting 45,000 metric tons annually.
“Downstream processing will enable PNG to derive more value from its cocoa resources, increase revenue and importantly secure increased prices for farmers and create more jobs in the sector,” Maru said.
“It’s time PNG stops exporting semi-processed primary goods and add value to our resources and export finished goods so the country can benefit more.
“I commend Paradise Foods (PNG) Ltd for building PNG’s first ever chocolate factory under the Queen Emma brand. They are processing 4,000 metric tons per year profitably.
“However, they are not able to meet the local market demand.
“There is room for more new players to come on the market to manufacture chocolate and other cocoa by-products.”
Maru said the Yangoru-Saussia district was the leading cocoa-producing district in the country, producing 9,000 metric tons per year of East Sepik’s 15,000 metric tons.
“We produce 20 per cent of PNG’s cocoa,” he said.
“We are on a mission to double production to 18,000 metric tons per year in the next five to 10 years.
“We have a very clear vision of where we want to be with our cocoa journey
“I’ve visited chocolate manufacturers in Europe and the final value they derive from our cocoa is nowhere near what our farmers get.
“PNG needs to stop creating jobs and wealth for other countries.
“The Government must assist our farmers to benefit more from their toil and sweat. We must stop and take a new perspective, a different journey.”