(This article is originally published by FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific)
As part of efforts to support smallholder farmers and create more inclusive agri-food value chains in Papua New Guinea, FAO implementing the European Union co-funded STREIT programme, has engaged the local private sector, partnering with Paradise Foods Ltd., the country’s oldest national food manufacturing company.
The Memorandum of Understanding agreement aims to promote more inclusive and sustainable cocoa production value chains and create income generation opportunities for smallholder farmers, through quality improvement, better market access and the development of product certification schemes.
Cocoa is one of the country’s most important cash crops and is mostly produced by smallholder farmers who depend on the crop for their livelihoods. Paradise Foods is the only company in Papua New Guinea that processes cocoa into a semi-finished product while also manufacturing fine chocolates for both national and export markets. The company is committed to using exclusively smallholder-sourced raw materials, which supports inclusive agricultural and cocoa value chain development in the country.
The partnership will support rural poverty reduction efforts and contribute to achieving the objectives of the European Union project Support to Rural Entrepreneurship, Investment and Trade in Papua New Guinea (STREIT PNG), the EU’s largest financial contribution to projects in the Pacific region. FAO is the lead implementing agency for STREIT and coordinates the work of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The STREIT project also aims to improve sustainable and inclusive economic development and job creation, with a specific focus on women, youth and climate change adaptation.
More specifically, the new partnership, which is in line with FAO’s Hand-in-Hand Initiative, will strengthen the private sector’s engagement with local cocoa producers, and facilitate greater participation of smallholders, traders and their organizations in the cocoa supply chain. The collaboration will focus initially on the East and West Sepik provinces of Papua New Guinea, where FAO and Paradise Foods, Ltd. will, through the provision of expertise, jointly support the development of relevant certification schemes for smallholder producers of cocoa. Improved quality and standardized certification will help to increase the long-term marketability of local cocoa products and improve income generation for small-holders.
Photo courtesy: pipeafcr, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons