Monday, November 14, 2011

Cocoa farmers to get help

Source: Business, Post Courier, November 14, 2011
By QUINTON ALOMP DWU Journalism student
FOR the first time an international cocoa trading company has agreed to work in partnership with a local exporter in Madang to improve the production of cocoa.
The partnership has been hailed a “benchmark” for the province and the national economomy in terms of cocoa export.
The Armajaro Group of Companies, which is the biggest cocoa exporter in Asia and Africa regions based in United Kingdom, last Thursday launched its partnership agreement with the Madang Agro-commodities Ltd (MACL) at Amitan village in Malala area to help local farmers with the production of cocoa.
The launching was attended by Armajaro Asia Pacific region director of development and sustainability in Malaysia Godfrey Loh, general manager Jasbir Singh, Armajaro office in Indonesia general manager David Ngu, Armajaro’s marketing representative for PNG Leon Abeysekere based in Singapore, director of Madang agro John Kambual and dignitaries from PNG Cocoa Board, Cocoa and Coconut Institute (CCI) and other delegates from government departments.
The launching signified an important achievement between the two companies as they would now work in partnership to help farmers in Madang and to increase the quantity of cocoa export to overseas markets.
Mr Loh said they are interested in PNG’s cocoa because of its quality. He said the cocoa produced here are of good quality but its quantity in the world market is below average.
He said Armajaro is forming partnership with Madang Agro to basically get the best of production they need in PNG to increase the quantity of shipment to world markets annually.
He said the company is expanding its operations into the Pacific with PNG and Solomon Islands to be the first two countries to participate.
However, he said they have no buying warehouse in Solomon Islands which would mean much their efforts would be focused in PNGM
Mr Loh said according to their records, PNG produced less than 50 percent of cocoa to world market annually while Solomon Islands produced only 6 percent.
He said from their analysis they saw that PNG produced quality beans than Solomon Islands.
He said as a result the company is interested in working closely with PNG Cocoa Board to bring up the volume of cocoa in the country for export.
Armajaro has been successfully operating and helping farmers in Africa and Asia.
Mr Kambual told the people at the launching that PNG has a potential in cocoa production but lacks two important things.
“Firstly, we still need to be educated to learn how to look after our cocoa trees,” he said.
He said farmers need to know how to look after their plantations and during the fermentation process at the fermentry.
“Secondly, we need experts to train our farmers,” he said.
Mr Kambual said last year PNG exports totalled less than 20,000 tonnes of cocoa but believed that the figure could be improved to about 40,000 tonnes if farmers are educated and skilled in managing their cocoa productions.
He assured the people that when they start working with experienced companies like Armajaro they would experience an increase in exports.
PNG cocoa board regional manager in Madang Wesley Kilang commended Madang Agro for the initiative saying it’s a milestone for the province.
Mr Kilang said the cocoa board is willing to support Madang Agro and Armajaro trading company in their partnership initiative.
Armajaro will be expanding its services to other provinces sooner with Morobe and Vanimo provinces already approved licensed with Madang Agro commodities Ltd.

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