The communities of Pomio District, East New Britain are gaining momentum in their efforts to break into new global markets with their local cocoa products.
These efforts have been given a significant boast with a second, K100,000 grant provided by the Pomio District Development Authority. This follows a previous such investment made in September 2018.
This funding will support the continuing efforts of farmers in the Melkoi Local Level Government to construct a second solar cocoa dryer, enable their participation in the Cocoa Excellence show in Lae to showcase products and continue developing locally made chocolate.
This initiative is being proudly supported by the member for Pomio District, the Honourable Elias Kapavore, Government through its Conservation, Environment and Protection Authority (CEPA) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) all of whom have contributed funding and provided technical assistance to communities in this work.
These efforts will see the export of high-grade cocoa into the Japanese market. This initiative has been supported by Japanese company Tachibana and Co. who have previously been involved in similar efforts around the world.
Looking forward, these communities have started producing chocolate with hopes it will one day be readily available across Papua New Guinea and beyond.
Chief Executive Officer for the Pomio District Development Authority, Peter Peniat said, “this is an exciting opportunity. We have benefited from the great leadership of the Honourable member for Pomio, Elias Kapavore. He has supported this initiative because he recognises the capacity of communities to achieve great things when they have the resources and confidence to do so. We are particularly excited by the possibility of producing local grown and locally made chocolate.”
Recent testing of the cocoa product has confirmed its high-grade quality. This will increase its value and the quality of the products it can be used for.
These sentiments were reiterated by the UNDP’s Resident Representative to Papua New Guinea, Dirk Wagener who said, “not only are we empowering communities, we are do so in an environmentally sustainable way. These communities are increasing their capacity to produce a high-quality product with very little impact to the environment. This has complimented conservation efforts and ensured we are producing a green commodity.”
The project has been funded by the Global Environment Facility. It has been administered by the UNDP in partnership with CEPA and the Pomio District Development Authority.