Of the East Sepik’s K60 million,Yangoru Saussia district alone fetches around K12 million of the pie in cocoa export revenue annually, according to the Cocoa Board of PNG (CBPNG).
All other five districts of East Sepik also grow cocoa including Angoram, Ambunti Drekikir, Wosera Gawi, Maprik,and Wewak.
CBPNG Chief Executive Officer(CEO), Mr. Boto Gaupu said of the K12 million, K10 million is circulated in the district – with farmers the biggest winners.
The country’s net cocoa production annually is around 40,000 metric generating around K300 million for the national coffers. More than 90% of cocoa is produced by small holder farmers. Currently cocoa supports 151,000 households, involving between 2-3 million rural farmers in PNG.
Mr. Gaupu revealed this in Yangoru on Wednesday (Jun 19) where he accompanied Member for Yangoru Saussia and Minister for National Planning and Monitoring, Richard Maru to the District. Other visiting delegates included his district administration and partners of the District comprising the Innovative Agro Industries Limited, UN Women, Bank South Pacific, and the Divine Word University.
It was an opportunity also for the Cocoa CEO to witness progress of work at the country’s first of the three regional cocoa nursery sites at Haripmo since his last visit on Mar 15 (three months ago).
Mr. Gaupu said, once completed,the Haripmo nursery and bud wood garden will have the capacity to produce two million cocoa seedlings annually to meet the ever-increasing demands for cocoa planting materials from East Sepik, West Sepik, Madang and Morobe provinces.
The project is situated on Kakauki State land portions 66 covering some 400 hectares.
The increasing demand for cocoa planting materials has impacted and “stretched out” the country’s only seed bank at Tavilo in East Britain province forcing the National Government to intervene and approved the establishments of two more regional nurseries in the country.
Upulima in the Abau district of Central Province will host the Southern regional nursery and while the existing Tavilo will be beefed up to cater for NGI region.
Mr Gaupu said the first 80,000 seedlings will be ready for planting by April 2020.
So far, the cocoa nursery sheds have been erected and building materials for the residential staff houses have already arrived in Wewak for assembling and construction.
Contract has also been awarded for the sub-divisional roads to be built at the project site.
Mr. Gaupu said the project will be ready for commissioning by the end of the year.