18 Nov 2004

UN-backed cocoa planting plan extended on Bougainville

8:22 pm on 18 November 2004

A UN-backed programme to plant more cocoa trees on the Papua New Guinea island of Bougainville has been extended to the end of the year.

The Post-Courier newspaper reports the increase in the number of cocoa trees to 30 million will make Bougainville the biggest cocoa producer in Papua New Guinea.

The chief executive of the Cocoa Board of Papua New Guinea, Lauatu Tautea, says the cocoa rehabilitation programme has been spearheaded by the European Union and the United Nations Development Programme.

Cocoa produced on Bougainville is taken to East New Britain before export.

Mr Tautea says under the autonomous government, Bougainville will have its own arrangements to export cocoa.

Bougainville produced 10,880 tonnes of cocoa last year and this figure is expected to be boosted when trees planted under the cocoa rehabilitation programme, mature and start bearing cocoa seeds.