Partnering for a richer cocoa industry
Better days are ahead for Papua New Guinea’s cocoa industry following the signing of a partnership to improve cocoa quality, supply, and production.
The partnership signing between Paradise Foods Limited – producers of Queen Emma Chocolate – and the Australian and New Zealand-funded Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access (PHAMA) Plus Program will help build the capacity of women and secure better prices for PNG cocoa growers.
Present at the signing yesterday were Karina Makori, General Manager of Queen Emma Chocolates; Tim Huggins, Minister Counsellor of the Australian High Commission to PNG; James Aipale, Senior Program Manager of the New Zealand High Commission to PNG; Sidney Suma, PHAMA Plus Country Manager; and Alex Kerangpuna, National Facilitator for PHAMA Plus PNG.
Ms Makori thanked PHAMA Plus for its support, saying the partnership would assist their efforts to test the quality and flavour profiles of cocoa beans from smallholder farmers, and expand their supply base by securing more growers.
Mr Huggins said Australia was proud to support this strategic value-adding intervention through this partnership that aims to improve smallholder cocoa farmers’ livelihood and the broader agriculture sector in PNG.
Acknowledging the work PHAMA Plus was doing, Mr Aipale said partnerships go a long way in bringing benefits to rural cocoa growers across the country. He said the NZ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade was happy to be involved and to continue contributing to the development of agriculture in PNG.
Paradise Foods Limited and PHAMA Plus both aim to support smallholder cocoa growers through capacity building and ensuring growers receive a fair price for their cocoa. Additional benefits expected from the new partnership include; improved access for growers to information on quality and flavour; opportunities to measure and map cocoa quality in the supply chain; and provision of lab equipment to allow for flavour profiling of cocoa samples.
The company has had successful collaboration with PHAMA, now known as PHAMA Plus. These collaborations involved achieving market access for spice products from PNG to Australia; facilitating linkages with international cocoa buyers including through hosting of international cocoa and chocolate festivals; delivering cocoa flavour profiling support and training; and regularly featuring at trade events like the PNG/Australia Business Council Business Expo.
PHAMA Plus’ support towards this partnership will contribute to improve cocoa quality and productivity, acquiring new market access and achieving the program’s overall goal to improve rural livelihoods.