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New Cocoa Export Facility By FAO Boosts Market Access And Incomes For 20,000 Farmers In Papua New Guinea

Published: Tue 21 May 2024 09:09 AM
A local cultural performance group celebrating the inauguration of the Cocoa Export Market Facility established by FAO as part of the EU-STREIT PNG Programme.
The FAO, has launched Cocoa Export Market Depot in Vanimo, West Sepik, to support farming households by increase market access and opportunity to premium prices. Now operated by the West Sepik Provincial Administration’s business arm, aims to boost income and improve the lives of local producers.
This pioneering facility, the first dedicated cocoa export-oriented depot in the province, aims to support over 20,000 farming households by enhancing market access and opportunity to premium prices for their cocoa beans. Following the inauguration, the depot handed over to the Provincial Government and operated by West Sepik Investment Limited, the business arm of the Provincial Administration and launched its first ever cocoa purchase operation at the depot.
The newly established Cocoa Export Market Depot stands as a testament to FAO's commitment to improving the livelihoods of local cocoa farmers. By providing proper storage, facilitating better marketing, and enabling farmers to sell their cocoa at higher prices, the depot promises to significantly enhance the incomes and quality of life for producers in the region. This initiative marks a significant step towards increasing sustainable production of cocoa in West Sepik. The depot assists farmers to receive a fairer share of the value generated along the supply chain by providing a space to aggregate and properly store cocoa beans while maintaining their quality. Additionally, it facilitates access to higher-paying buyers, including international markets, guaranteeing improved incomes for the farmers.
The inauguration event saw the presence of several distinguished guests, including Honourable Mr. Tony Wouwou, Governor of West Sepik Province, Ms. Monica Vazquez Pablo, Representing the EU Delegation in Papua New Guinea, Ms. Kesang Phuntsho, Representing the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Papua New Guinea, and Mr. Ali Said Yesuf, EU-STREIT PNG Programme Coordinator.
Governor Tony Wouwou expressed his gratitude, stating, "On behalf of my office, my administration, and the people of West Sepik Province, I extend my heartfelt thanks to the European Union for funding the Cocoa Export Market Depot. I also commend the FAO-led EU-STREIT PNG Programme for facilitating the construction and establishment of this essential facility. This initiative will enhance the productivity of cocoa and significantly improve the livelihoods of our cocoa farmers by providing critical marketing services here in Vanimo."
Ms. Monica Vazquez Pablo, representing the EU Delegation in the Country, shared her enthusiasm, stating, "It is a great honour to be here today on behalf of the European Union. Through the EU-STREIT PNG Programme, implemented by FAO and other UN agencies, we have been supporting farming households to produce higher-quality cocoa and gain better market access. The Cocoa Export Market Depot, supported by the sustainable business model developed by the Provincial Government, will further extend these benefits."
Ms. Kesang Phuntsho, speaking on behalf of the UN Resident Coordinator in Papua New Guinea, highlighted the importance of sustainability, stating, "In Papua New Guinea, cocoa ranks third among agricultural export crops, contributing approximately 14% of agricultural exports. The opportunities for growth are significant, and ensuring the sustainability of our achievements is crucial. On behalf of the UN Resident Coordinator, I am pleased to reaffirm the support of the United Nations in the Papua New Guinea and look forward to continued collaboration with the government and local communities."
EU-STREIT PNG Programme Coordinator Mr. Ali Said Yesuf on his part expressed his satisfaction with the project's progress, stating, "I am extremely pleased to see this initiative come to fruition. This support, provided by the EU-STREIT PNG Programme, aims to enhance the cocoa value chain. Our objectives are to improve marketing, ensure farmers receive fair prices, and establish Vanimo as a hub for cocoa exports. This will motivate farmers and transform the economy of West Sepik."
The Cocoa Export Market Depot, with an investment of PGK 1.67 million and a storage capacity of 50 metric tonnes, aims to support 20,000 farming households. The business model developed by West Sepik Investment Limited is expected to ensure the depot's long-term sustainability and functionality, contributing to the overall economic growth of the region.
The inauguration of the Cocoa Export Market Depot marks a significant milestone in the EU-STREIT PNG Programme's efforts to enhance agricultural production and productivity and improve the livelihoods of farming communities in Papua New Guinea. This facility symbolizes hope and progress for the hardworking cocoa farmers of West Sepik, paving the way for a brighter and more prosperous future.
About the EU-STREIT PNG Programme
The EU-STREIT PNG, being implemented as a United Nations Joint Programme (FAO as leading agency and ILO, ITU, UNCDF and UNDP as implementing partners), is the European Union's largest grant-funded initiative in the country and the Pacific. It focuses on boosting sustainable and inclusive economic development in rural areas. This is achieved by enhancing economic returns and opportunities within cocoa, vanilla, and fisheries value chains. Additionally, the Programme strengthens and improves the efficiency of value chain enablers, including access to ICT and digital financial services. It also supports the development of sustainable, climate-resilient transport infrastructures and renewable energy solutions. The Programme benefits two provinces: East Sepik and West Sepik.

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