Cocoa Demand in the Export Market
The demand for cocoa in the market has increased recently.
As the result, current market price has increased from $6/kg to $10/kg. Permanent Secretary of Agriculture David Kolitagane while officiating at the Cocoa Day Celebrations at Gatward Park, Korovou, Tailevu said cocoa productions have increased from 9 metres in 2014 to 22 metres in 2017. “As a result, Government continued to increase funds allocated for Cocoa Revitalisation Programme from $300,000 in 2014 to $550,000 in the current financial year and a similar amount is proposed in the next financial year.
“The theme for this year’s Cocoa day celebration is “Let us revive Fiji’s cocoa industry” which is befitting in a way, as we are here to collectively embrace and revive the Cocoa Industry,” Mr Kolitagane said.
Cocoa Development Programme
He highlighted that the Cocoa Development Programme will continue to support active Cocoa clusters and individuals.
“I must thank and acknowledge all agroprocessors, and key stakeholders and of course Cocoa farmers and their families who are present here today.
“I trust that the 2018 Cocoa Day celebration will inspire current and potential Cocoa growers to share knowledge, build new networks and strengthen traditional ties amongst Cocoa growers so that the Cocoa Industry becomes a key contributor to our GDP. The aim is to revive all existing Cocoa fields into productive use and let us celebrate, to ensure the fulfillment of its theme.
“The Fijian Cocoa Industry does not exist without your input and sacrifice.
“All players along the Cocoa Value Chain must be commended for their commitment and tireless effort over the years.
“The value of export for Cocoa increased from $72,000 in 2014 to $144,000 in 2016. “As a result of this high demand for our cocoa in the export market, we are currently exporting to 17 destinations including vibrant markets such as Australia, Canada, France and the United States to name a few.”
Mr Kolitagane said apart from the fluctuation in market prices, pest and disease continued to be a threat.
“For example, the high incidence of black pod on certain areas such as Naitasiri and parts of Cakaudrove.
“Certain areas with high rainfall were unsuitable for cocoa regardless of variety. “The disease problems were generally related to low standards of husbandry practices. “Basic crop maintenance such as pruning and shade reduction, to allow for air flow through the groves and removal of infected pods are often ignored. “Following simple hygiene would lead to substantial improvements without resorting to the use of expensive chemicals.” Despite the limitations, he said Government is adamant to revive the Cocoa Industry.
Permanent Secretary for Agriculture David Kolitagane (right) inspecting a cocoa display set-up during the Cocoa Day Celebrations in Gatward Park, Korovou, Tailevu with senior officers of the Ministry of Agriculture on May 17, 2018.
Students of Tailevu North College touring the booths during the Cocoa Day Celebration at Gatward Park, Korovou,Tailevu on May 17, 2018.