With growing demand for Vanuatu cocoa internationally, the Department is in the process of developing a National Cocoa Strategy to strengthen and address issues and challenges confronting the cocoa sector.
In his opening address, DARD Acting Principal South, Peter Iesul called on cocoa farmers to focus on three areas required to boost the cocoa sector – “quality, quantity and consistency.”
The workshop held on 28 March was divided into three parts covering a review of the current cocoa industry and sector, stakeholder presentations on the issues and challenges affecting the cocoa industry and proposing interventions to overcome these challenges.
Major issues affecting the cocoa sector identified included weak quality control systems, threat of pests and diseases, inconsistent supply of cocoa produced for the market, expensive transportation costs and insufficient market information.
“We need to be organised in order to share our ideas towards formulating a strategy,” Mr Iesul said.
He assured participants that there would be wide consultations throughput the major cocoa producing provinces in order to produce the National Cocoa Strategy.
DARD Officers and the consultant hired to develop the National Cocoa strategy will be visiting other large cocoa producing islands including Santo and Malekula throughout April.
The intended outcome of the stakeholder consultations is to put in place strategies that focus on increasing output, improving quality and ensuring consistency and sustainability of the cocoa sector in Vanuatu.
Photo supplied Caption: Cocoa beans of Epi island