THE Highlands will be the new frontier of cocoa with the government looking at establishing a regional nursery to cater for two million cocoa seedlings for farmers in the region each year, Minister for National Planning Richard Maru says.
Maru said the government through the PNG Cocoa board would be investing in cocoa to ensure there were eight million seedlings produced and distributed to farmers every year.
In his address to cocoa farmers, exhibitors and participants during the 2019 PNG Kumul Bilong Morobe Cocoa of Excellence show in Lae on Friday, Maru said cocoa nurseries would be established in the four regions of the country.
“Currently PNG is exporting 42,000 metric tonnes and over the next five years, we should reach 100,000 metric tonnes and beyond,” he said.
“To do that would mean a lot of effort from all farmers and everyone in the sector.”
“Our government has decided to partner all districts to embark on district nurseries.
“We are building the Mamose nursery in the Sepik plains by December.
“That will produce a further two million seedlings a year, currently the whole nation depends on Kerevat for two million seeds a year.
“By April 2020, the Mamose nursery should start producing and we will increase seedlings by 100 per cent.
“We are already studying the Southern nursery in Abau and we hope to complete the nursery next year.”
Maru said the Highlands nursery would be set up in Jiwaka because the government was committed to supporting the growth of the cocoa industry and to grow the size of the export volume.
Chimbu deputy administrator (field services) Walkaima Essy, who was part of the Chimbu administration team to showcase the growth of cocoa at higher altitudes farming during the show, said Maru’s announcement was timely.
“Karimui is producing cocoa and they are the first district to grow this crop in the Highlands,” Essy said.
Source: The National PNG