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Papua New Guinea

South B’ville dominates cocoa festival

The Bougainville Chocolate Festival of 2018 saw its largest number of entries in its three year history.
Concluding last weekend, the festival saw over 130 cocoa samples submitted in what could be described as a proud event for cocoa farmers, extension staff, and traders in South Bougainville who submitted the most samples for the festival chocolate competition.
From over 130 cocoa sample submitted for the 2018 Autonomous Region of Bougainville Chocolate competition, about 60-70 samples were from the South Bougainville area mostly from Buin, Siwai and Bana districts.
The Annual event hosted by the Autonomous Region of Bougainville Government with support from the Australia Government Aid Program is now into its third year.
The initial festival was held in Buin and the Arawa in 2016 and again hosted the event in 2017.
The host committee decided to then have the event staged at Hutjena Oval from the 21st and 22nd of September.
The chairman of the festival committee James Butubu said that this year’s chocolate festival entries saw most submission of samples then the previous two years.
“I had to deny more than 100 samples which were given after the closing dates of submission.
“Either they (farmers) were advised late or due to various reasons. Some of the samples were over the amount required, 3kg set by the committee.
“After the overall effort, we only have to utilised the final 50 cocoa samples to be part in the competition,” said Mr Butubu.
From the 130 cocoa samples, only 50 samples were shortlisted for the chocolate competition.
Sample collection was done in the three regions of Bougainville, South, Central, and North Bougainville.
Over 20 trained cocoa assessors with AROB DPI staff carried out awareness and liaising with the farmers to participate.
The increase in cocoa production in Bougainville has so far greatly improved after the invasion of the Cocoa Pod Borer in 2008 which greatly damage cocoa plantation and smallholder blocks.
With new cocoa hybrid planting materials and nursery production financial support from the Productive Partnership in Agriculture Project (PPAP) farming support from the ABG’s Commodity Support facilities (CSF) and cocoa quality management program carried out by Australia’s ACIAR Improved management strategies for cocoa in Papua New Guinea, bougainvillea’s cocoa farmers now have many opportunities to regain the production value they once had prior to the Bougainville civil crises in the 1990s.

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