Cocoa is ‘national crop’

Cocoa is now a national crop. This is why the Cocoa Board of PNG will be opening an office in Simbu Province soon.

The Cocoa Board of PNG executives were in Lae recently to hand over a dinghy and dirt bike to their office in Morobe.

Acting CEO, Tony Vigil, highlighted the momentum of cocoa production in PNG, describing it as a ‘rural crop’ that involves 2 million farmers who have generated over K300 million for our economy.

“We are now regarded as a ‘national crop’,” he said. “We are also covering the Highlands. We’ll be opening an office in the highlands, in Kundiawa. This shows that the industry is growing.

“Our focus areas are the Highlands and Southern regions – Central going down to Gulf have cocoa but not a lot that is why we are looking at boosting production there.

“We are also looking at Western Province. They are planting cocoa but not that extensive. So these are our focus areas.

“We aim to grow the industry by 10 percent every year. When we talk about this 10 percent every year, we were producing about 38,000 tonnes. Somehow last year, we talked about this 10 percent and we achieved it; we are now at 41,000.”

Vigil acknowledged the government for backing the industry through the public investment program (PIP) projects. The two main projects that are still being carried out are remote area freight subsidy and district cocoa nurseries.

Vigil emphasised their objective of rural farming, and acknowledged their partnership with Wafi-Golpu Joint Venture.