Post Courier | September 6, 2017
The 2017 Bougainville Chocolate Festival has officially begun. The Autonomous Bougainville Government Minister for Primary Industries, Marine Resources and Forestry Nicholas Darku and Australia’s Deputy High Commissioner Bronte Moules launched the two-day festival with a colourful and delicious ceremony in Arawa.
The event brings together cocoa farmers, chocolatiers, industry representatives and government officials to network and discuss market access, share improved farming and processing techniques. As well as sample the delicious chocolate made from Bougainville’s finest beans.
Minister Darku speaking at the opening ceremony said the festival is a culmination of efforts by the Bougainville Government and its stakeholders to revitalise the cocoa industry in Bougainville.
“The cocoa industry has significant and immediate growth potential for Bougainville. That’s why it makes sense to focus on rebuilding the industry to improve livelihoods of our people and at the same time, grow the economy,” Minister Darku said.
Ms Moules in her remarks commended the Autonomous Bougainville Government for its proactive efforts to boost the cocoa sector in Bougainville.
“We know that money from cocoa brings better health and education and more opportunities for Bougainvilleans. That’s why the Papua New Guinea-Australia Partnership, together with New Zealand, is working in Bougainville to help develop the cocoa value chain.
“Our partnership is working to improve the business environment and market access, increase production and quality and ultimately, put more money in the pockets of Bougainvillean farmers,” Ms Moules said.
The chocolate competition will again be a highlight at the festival this year. Farmers from throughout Bougainville have sent samples of their cocoa to Paradise Foods’ Queen Emma Chocolate Factory to be made into chocolate. A panel of local and international judges will then sample the chocolate before making a final decision on medal winners.
The Festival is an initiative of the Autonomous Bougainville Government led by the Department of Primary Industries in partnership with the Governments of Papua New Guinea, Australia and New Zealand.