BOUGAINVILLE COCOA AND COCONUT PROJECT TOPS U.S. AID TO PNG, SAYS U.S.

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AMBASSADOR TO PNG JACOBS

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (January 29, 2002 – Post-Courier)---The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) cocoa and coconut rehabilitation project on Bougainville is the largest U.S. aid project in Papua New Guinea.

And the results should generate more than K 108 million (US$ 28,987,200) a year directly to the province in five years’ time.

Further, the project is now under phase three of the rehabilitation implementation period, funded under a partnership that includes the European Union, the Australian Government through the AusAID program and UNDP.

Phase one and two were funded under UNDP and more than 4.3 million seedlings have been distributed to about 4,300 households on the island for planting.

U.S. Ambassador to PNG Susan Jacobs expressed satisfaction that the K 1 million (US$ 268,400) donated by the U.S. government to Bougainville for the project was proving to be very successful.

Ms. Jacobs was on the island last Thursday and Friday, accompanied by the defense attaché based in Canberra, Australia, Colonel Michael Baier, to visit the cocoa project in Buka and Arawa.

She also met with Bougainville Provincial Government heads and special project coordinators to discuss the project and be briefed on the constraints being faced.

"You know that we have no assistance program in Papua New Guinea and this is the only U.S. project executed through UNDP in the country," Ms. Jacobs said.

"This is because we really believe that peace on the island is important, that this project, because it will give jobs to ex-combatants, will provide economic incentive for peace and will maintain peace on Bougainville.

"Also this is the best cocoa in the world and I’m very pleased that UNDP, the Cocoa and Coconut Extension Agency (CCEA), Cocoa and Coconut Research Institute and the people of Bougainville have valued and looked after this project and that the money given by my government has been well spent."

UNDP officials, CCEA and CCRI executives had the opportunity to brief the ambassador on the success and constraints of the project.

For additional reports from The Post-Courier, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The Post-Courier (Papua New Guinea).

Provided by Vikki John VIKKI@law.uts.edu.au" target="_blank">(VIKKI@law.uts.edu.au

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