By Meriba Tulo – EMTV News, Port Moresby
Come July, cocoa enthusiasts will converge in Lae for the 2019 PNG Cocoa of Excellence Festival. Formal preparations for this event began recently, with the hosting of an official fundraiser in Lae, Morobe Province.
In 2017, the inaugural PNG Cocoa of Excellence Show was staged in Kokopo, East New Britain Province. The event brought together cocoa producers, suppliers, exporters, and manufacturers together to celebrate cocoa and also grade various cocoa samples from around the country. This year, the PNG Cocoa Festival will be held in Lae, Morobe Province.
Recently, the Cocoa Board held the official launch and first fundraiser for 2019 PNG Cocoa of Excellence Show – an event that is expected to bring together close to one hundred cocoa farmers from around the country. Samples from these farmers and cocoa groups will also be graded, with awards given to respective winners.
PNG Cocoa Board CEO, Boto Gaupu, said they are inviting all stakeholders to attend the PNG Cocoa of Excellence in Lae.
Representing the Morobe Provincial Government, Provincial Administrator, Bart Ipambonj, highlighted the importance of cocoa to the economy of Morobe Province – a province blessed with fertile soil and a province from which award winning cocoa brands are produced. Ipambonj said that cocoa is vitally important to Morobe Province.
Deputy Opposition Leader, and Member for South Bougainville, Timothy Masiu, was the keynote speaker at the launch. For South Bougainville, a recent emphasis on agriculture has been the priority for a district, with positive results. South Bougainville is now leading cocoa production in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.
According to the South Bougainville MP, the opportunity for farmers from across the country to take part in the upcoming PNG Cocoa of Excellence is a step in the right direction for the development of this vital agricultural crop. Masiu said that the show is a step in the right direction for PNG.
The launch ended on a high note, with Wafi-Golpu Joint Venture announcing their support for the cocoa of excellence through a sponsorship of K100,000.
The 2019 edition to be now known as the ‘Kumul Blong Morobe PNG Cocoa of Excellence’.