US chocolate firms to source Pacific Island cacao


<p style="text-align: justify;">American chocolate firms are developing a taste for cacao from Fiji and Papua New Guinea.<!--more--></p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">Pacific Islands Trade &amp; Invest (PT&amp;I) recently facilitated representatives from American chocolate manufacturers in both countries. Two boutique US-based chocolate companies, Meridian Cacao Company and Dandelion Chocolate showed interest in buying cocoa beans grown in Fiji and Papua New Guinea.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">Sydney based PT&amp;I Export Services manager Jeremy Grennell said these representatives were looking to work with the local Pacific Island farmers to improve the quality of cocoa beans. This could yield better prices for their product.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">“The visitors were interested in sourcing premium grade cacao and are prepared to work with growers to help them increase the quality of their beans so they could realise a higher price,” he said, speaking to media in Fiji. “Chocolate bars made from Fijian cacao will be identified as such with Fiji branded as the origin of the cacao.”</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">While the American chocolatiers met with several chocolate firms in Fiji including award-winning exporter Adi Chocolate, in PNG, they visited cocao and coffee industry establishments and stakeholders besides cooperative cacao farms, provincial government and local administration offices in Madang and Morobe provinces.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">They also visited research projects of the Cocoa Coconut Institute and discussed with farmers on ways and means to improve quality and step up their presence in the lucrative global market for chocolate. Dandelion is already using PNG cacao in some of its product lines, which won an award in the US last year.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">PNG Investment Promotion Authority Managing Director Ivan Pomaleu said these recent developments augured well for the PNG cacao industry.</p>
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