Assistant Minister for Trade and Manufacturing visits Queen Emma Chocolate Factory
Australia’s Assistant Minister for Trade and Manufacturing, Senator the Hon Timothy Ayres is in Papua New Guinea to attend the 38th Australia-PNG Business Forum.
Today, the Minister visited Papua New Guinea’s very own Queen Emma Chocolate factory, owned by local food leader Paradise Foods Limited, to see firsthand how the cocoa sourced from local farmers is turned into chocolate products for domestic and export markets.
Since 2016, Australia and New Zealand have supported Queen Emma Chocolate through the Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access Plus (PHAMA Plus) Program to improve cocoa quality and productivity, increasing access to new markets, and improving returns for smallholder cocoa farming households.
Through this longstanding collaboration, Queen Emma Chocolate has been able to establish a small-scale laboratory facility to develop different chocolate products for various markets. It has also established buyer linkages and conducted successful commercial trial shipments of over 10 tonnes of cocoa butter, 3,750 kg of cocoa powder, cocoa nibs and cocoa mass to Australia and beyond.
During the visit, Senator the Hon Timothy Ayres highlighted “This collaboration is an example of how our economic and development partnership delivers results for PNG and her people. Australia is proud to support Papua New Guinean companies fulfill their potential by elevating the quality of production to meet international market standards and establish buyer linkages with Australia and New Zealand.”
The support through PHAMA Plus has not only benefited the factory in terms of production, but has also provided staff with industry-specific knowledge of cocoa processing equipment.
Queen Emma’s Managing Director, Karina Makori said, “The Queen Emma Chocolate Company takes pride in being a factory that is PNG-owned, and processes PNG-grown cocoa. Our collaboration with PHAMA Plus has created a faster system for testing cocoa beans, making it easier to provide timely and accurate feedback to smallholder suppliers, while also improving cocoa production in PNG”.
Cocoa farming provides a direct income for more than 150,000 households across PNG. The company sources its cocoa from over 3,500 households, mostly from three provinces – the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, Morobe and Madang – as well as some from East New Britain, Oro, Milne Bay, East Sepik and Central Province.