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Several Memorandum of Understandings and protocols were signed between the People’s Republic of China and Papua New Guinea, during the recent official visit of His Excellency Wang Yi, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of China.
Minister for Agriculture and Member for Obura Wonenara Hon, John Boito, MP stated that PNG and China have strengthened their bilateral ties through the signing of five new agreements in the Agriculture, Trade and Information Communication sectors.

As part of these agreements, specific arrangements related to the export of unroasted Papua New Guinea cocoa and coffee beans were made. That is; Protocols of Phytosanitary Requirement for the Export of Unroasted Cocoa Beans from Papua New Guinea to China which was signed by Hon, John Boito, MP, Minister for Agriculture and His Excellency Mr Zeng Fanhua, Ambassador of the Peoples Republic of China to Papua New Guinea and the Protocols of Phytosanitary Requirement for the Export of Unroasted Coffee Beans from Papua New Guinea to China which was signed by Hon, William Bando, MP, Minister for Coffee also with His Excellency Mr Zeng Fanhua.

Minister Boito after signing the MOU said that the agreement will ensure the safe export of unroasted cocoa beans from Papua New Guinea to China, incorporating both countries biosecurity standards that is preventing the introduction of pests and diseases, and protect human and plant health.
PNG’s cocoa exports currently generate about K350 million in export earnings, representing only 1% of the world’s total cocoa supply. The export of unroasted cocoa beans from Papua New Guinea to China has been a topic of interest. PNG is known for its cocoa production, and it plays a significant role in the global cocoa supply chain.

Minister Boito stated that the signing of the agreement is in accordance with the relevant principles and risk assessment results of the ‘Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures’ (SPS Agreement) of the World Trade Organization (WTO) as this was reviewed and cleared by the National Agriculture and Quarantine Inspection Authority (NAQIA) and State Solicitor.
He adds the agreements contain 10 articles that guides the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAL) through the Cocoa Board of PNG to comply with China’s import and food safety requirements for unroasted cocoa

The Agriculture Minister said that the agreement compliments the current standard practices on exports as stipulated by the Cocoa Act 1981 and the Cocoa Regulations 1982. It will also ensure PNG cocoa producers and exporters are more conscious of the management practices currently in place to control and/ or mitigate cocoa pest and diseases.

This also includes the kind of pesticides to be used in cocoa farming. However, exclusively, cocoa beans for export to China must be stored separately from exports to other countries.
The agreement also states that the packaging of cocoa beans and/or products must have both English and Chinese labeling.

Minister Boito said that prior to the export of cocoa to China, and as is a normal requirement for export to any other country, a Phytosanitary certificate must be issued by the National Agriculture Inspection Authority.
He added that with the signing of the agreement, PNG will see more cocoa beans exported to Chinese markets. Over the last 5 years PNG has exported a total of 5,090 tonnes of cocoa to China with a corresponding export revenue of K53.6 million or US$14 million.

The successful implementation of this agreement will basically be safeguarding the current trade relationship between PNG and China in terms of cocoa exports and further expansion into the future which will ensure Chinese Companies to come and invest in large scale commercial farming and setup of downstream processing into finished products so we can also export the finished products.

The country produces cocoa through both plantation and smallholder sectors.
In a recent subsector and commodity board meeting hosted by the Department of Agriculture, Cocoa Board of Papua New Guinea Chief Executive Officer Jesse Anjen said that there is a rise in cocoa price with prices reaching up to K2,260 for a 60kg bag of cocoa in provinces like Bougainville, East New Britain, and East Sepik.
The CEO stated that the Cocoa Board is doing everything to help and facilitate the transportation of cocoa from rural areas to ensure all growers can benefit from these peak period when the prices are high.
The Marape-Rosso government is also taking significant steps to boost agriculture in Papua New Guinea. Prime Minister and Treasurer Hon. James Marape recently announced a substantial K5 million funding to the Markham District Development Authority (DDA) in Morobe. This investment is aimed at developing the cocoa industry and other economic ventures, aligning with the surge in global cocoa prices.

The signing of this protocol marks a historic moment in the relationship between Papua New Guinea and the People’s Republic of China. It opens the Chinese market to PNG’s unroasted Cocoa and Coffee beans, which have been predominantly traded with western societies and shipped via Asian ports.

Minister for Agriculture Hon, John Boito after signing the Protocol of Phytosanitary Requirements for the Export of Unroasted Cocoa Beans from Papua New Guinea to China commanded the tireless efforts of Prime Minister James Marape and thanked the hardworking Minister for Foreign Affairs Honorable Justin Tkatchenko and other colleague ministers including public officials in the successful negotiations.

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