Meeting to discuss training materials to be developed for PNG, 10 - 14 August 2015
This meeting was held to discuss the curriculum for the manual and topics for posters and videos

Jeremy gave a presentation to summarise the main food safety issues for cocoa and to introduce the Cocoa Safe Project, it’s activities to date and planned activities for PNG. The project seems timely for PNG as the questions raised several discussion points on contaminants such as pesticide residues, heavy metals residue like cadmium, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) and ochratoxins (OTA).

Regarding pesticides, most of the cocoa in PNG can be considered as organic by default as many small scale farmers do not use or can’t afford to buy pesticides. The group didn’t think that pesticide residues would be an issue for PNG cocoa but they need to be prepared.

As for heavy metals like Cadmium, Eremas mentioned that some testing has been done to establish cadmium levels for PNG cocoa and this does not seem to be an issue, as levels in beans were found to be very low even though most of the soils in PNG are volcanic.

PAH is known to be an issue in PNG; Paul informed us that PNG has recently received the distinction that 95% of the cocoa it produces can be classified as fine flavour cocoa although it is often reported that cocoa from PNG has a smokey taint which reduces its quality

There are four training components that need to be completed for the project: training manual for TOMF and TOF, farmers’ manual/booklet, posters and videos. It was decided after some discussion that videos would not be appropriate as training material for farmers in PNG but the other three extension materials were agreed upon.

Jeremy introduced the curriculum for the Cocoa Safe Training Manual broken down into its constituent parts. Topics were selected to be updated and tailored for PNG:

  • Pesticide usage and safety
  • Pest and disease data sheets
  • Harvesting & post - harvesting, processing and transport

Participants were divived into three groups to brainstorm and gather country material together to prepare for the development of the manual. Jeremy also asked the group to make a list of poster they have already produced and highlight any gaps that exist.

It was decided that the Cocoa Board should be contacted to provide information on cocoa bean quality grading to be included, and it will be good to have the Cocoa board endorse the other extension material produced by CCIL.

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