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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Oct. 10) – Bougainville is set to regain its former status as the leading cocoa producer in Papua New Guinea.

It has sold about K140 million (US$48.3 million) worth of cocoa this year, rebounding from the 10-year crisis which has seen the region lose its former glory.

According to statistics released by the PNG cocoa board last Thursday, the Bougainville region produced 7,920 tonnes out of the country’s total of 15,445 tonnes in the first six months this year.

East New Britain is the second highest producer with 5,206 tonnes, Madang (1,177), East Sepik (989), West New Britain (110), New Ireland (42) and Northern (1).

Statistics showed that farmers in Bougainville produced 7,896 tonnes of cocoa while its plantations produced 24 tonnes. ENB is next with 4,713 and 493, and Madang 1,022 and 155 respectively.

There are no plantations in ESP, WNB, New Ireland and Northern provinces.

Earlier, Autonomous Bougainville House of Assembly Speaker Nick Peniai said that there was a rise of cocoa production throughout Bougainville.

"Mind you, these are small block holders. The big plantations have not started production yet," he said.

Mr Penia said the flush was from 20 million seedlings worth K9 million that were donated by the United Nation Development Project, European Union and AusAID in 2000.

According to Agmark, 96,747 bags at 63.5kg were shipped out of their Buka deport to Rabaul since January.

October 11, 2005

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