Developing the cocoa value chain in Bougainville

Project code
AUD 5,706,996
Research program manager
Ms Irene Kernot
Project leader
Professor David Guest
Commissioned organisation
The University of Sydney
FEB 2016
DEC 2022
Project status
Legally committed/Active
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This project is improving the profitability and vitality of smallholder cocoa farming families and communities in Bougainville. 

Cocoa production directly supports about two-thirds of the population in Papua New Guinea’s Autonomous Region of Bougainville (ARoB). Many of these cocoa farmers have formed into cohesive communities with clear goals and objectives. These communities now want assistance to increase the profitability of crops. 

The potential benefits of improved cocoa management are yet to be realised due to poor access to support, limited labour availability and inefficient cocoa supply chains. Cocoa production in ARoB has been falling since 2009, with reduced productivity and profitability due to ageing trees and increasing damage from the invasive cocoa pod borer. 

This project aims to improve the productivity, profitability and sustainability of cocoa farming and related enterprises; understand and raise awareness of opportunities for improved nutrition and health to contribute to agricultural productivity and livelihoods; foster innovation and enterprise development at community level; and strengthen value chains for cocoa and associated horticultural products. 

Expected project outcomes

  • Improved cocoa yields and quality.
  • Engagement of researchers, cocoa buyers and exporters in sustaining cocoa’s role in generating wealth and raising living standards.
  • Improved incomes and health of rural communities in ARoB, through techniques that can be implemented in other diverse, developing countries.
  • Improved family and community understanding of different roles and inputs of men and women along the value chain to help address gender equity issues in the sector.
  • Empowerment of women and youth through diversification of household incomes into food crops, livestock and small enterprises specialising in cocoa fermentation and drying, marketing, nursery establishment and service provision, and training in financial literacy.
  • Enhanced capacity within villages to manage and improve livelihood outcomes.

Summary of outcomes to date


  • Village Resource Centres have been established and 33 Village Assemblies have benefitted from training programs on cocoa, vegetables, livestock, composting, children’s health and nutrition awareness, with several extra villages also requesting assistance.
  • 17 of the 33 village budwood gardens established are now certified by PNG Cocoa Board for commercial operations.
  • Family Farm Teams training is being rolled out across Bougainville and aligns very well with the Bougainville Government’s independence-ready programs.
  • 21 Schools will roll out the CB Cocoa curriculum to support education, sustainability and economic development in farming communities.
  • Entrepreneurship, particularly amongst women and youth is emerging in food crop production and sales, service provision and downstream processing of cocoa.
  • Project officers continue to participate and contribute to ABG DPI Food security policy and Cocoa industry regulation through the Bougainville Agricultural Commodities Regulatory Authority (BACRA).
  • Following the success of the Bougainville Chocolate Festival competitions in earlier years, entries from Bougainville were accepted into the Cocoa of Excellence competition in Paris for the first time. 
  • Stakeholders have been engaged through media and the TADEP+ bi-monthly updates, project Facebook page, journal articles and market newsletters.
  • The Cocoa Farmer’s mobile app will support community development, improved health and nutrition, gender equity, education in addition to cocoa farming.
  • The no cost extension will enable us to complete many activities that were delayed due Covid -19, and the opportunity to include additional activities such as the FFT and Cocoa Farmer’s app.
Key partners
Autonomous Region of Bougainville Dept of Primary Industries and Marine Resources
Cocoa Coconut Institute of Papua New Guinea
Mars Australia
The University of Sydney
University of Natural Resources and Environment
fact sheet placeholder image
Fact sheet HORT/2014/094