Three new cocoa resource centres will be constructed in Talasea District, West New Britain Province. Supported by the Australian Government, the centres will be used to rehabilitate Talasea District’s cocoa industry after it was impacted by a cocoa pod borer infestation in 2006.
A ground-breaking ceremony was held on Friday 23 November to launch the construction of the new resource centres. Those in attendance to witness the start of the project included local MP Francis Galia Maneke, West New Britain Provincial Administrator Williamson Hosea, Talasea District Administrator Robert Dau, Department of Provincial and Local Government Affairs Deputy Director for Capacity Development, Ray Kala and the Australian High Commission’s Minister Counsellor Andrew Egan.
“I am very pleased to partner with the Australian Government to deliver local priorities for the benefit of Talasea. I am committed to improving governance in my district and Australia is helping to build local capacity to manage and implement local development projects that benefit the community,” said Mr Maneke.
In his address, Mr Egan said Australia was working with the district to support the revival of the cocoa industry to diversify economic opportunities and provide livelihoods for local farmers, including women, and their families.
“Cocoa can provide a sustainable income for local farmers and their families and improve livelihoods in the community, particularly for women. The resource centres will be a hub for local people, including women, to be trained in cocoa production techniques and how to access markets,” said Mr Egan.
“The Australian Government is pleased work in partnership with the District Development Authority, to build their capacity and improve local governance.
This helps to empower communities to address local challenges using local solutions. We are working with districts and provinces who are investing their own resources to improve the lives of their communities and making a commitment to improve governance.”
The cocoa rehabilitation project will cost PGK1.7 million and will be co-funded by the Australian Government and the Talasea District Administration in support of its Five-Year District Development Plan. Construction of the three cocoa resource centres is expected to be completed in May 2019.
The partnership is part of a broader Australian commitment to the Government of Papua New Guinea’s decentralisation agenda to help strengthen local service delivery and build capacity at the local level.
Activities supporting improved decentralisation are focused on better service delivery, economic opportunities and community development through the empowerment of provinces and districts.
For further information, including access to related materials, please contact the Australian High Commission media team: +675 7090 0100
(From L-R): Australian High Commission Minister Counsellor, Andrew Egan, Talasea MP Francis Maneke, Australian High Commission representative, Alex Oates, DPLGA representative, Ray Kala and DFCR representative Sylvester Oru launching the project.