Agmark Cocoa
NGIP Agmark Limited - CERTIFICATE OF REGISTRATION

AGMARK COCOA

NGIP-Agmark Limited

NGIP-Agmark has a long history as an active participant in the PNG cocoa industry, a history which can be traced back to the mid 1950’s. The company is a Papua New Guinean company with over 4,000 Papua New Guinean shareholder investors. It has consistently invested in new technology as this has become available, and has a record of bringing this not only to the company plantations but to the smallholder farmers that produce the majority of the cocoa that it exports. As the largest exporter of PNG cocoa the company has been instrumental in ensuring that maximum value is returned to smallholder producers. To date PNG remains a world leader in returning one of the highest proportions of terminal market price to cocoa to farmers.

Development of an Agribusiness

Agmark

During the early 1980’s the company became increasingly involved in the redevelopment of plantation properties both in its own right and as a managing agent for a large number of client properties. The redevelopment was carried out with, at the time, the recently developed SG2 hybrid cocoa types developed by the PNG Cocoa & Coconut Research Institute at Tavilo in East New Britiain. In addition to this the company also developed its own Tokiala hybrid from the same source material. Hand in hand with these developments came the requirement to increase the capacity to process the increasing cocoa production that was to eventuate. To prepare for this the company invested significantly in the construction of the Talina Cocoa Fermentary. One further significant development took place with the establishment of the cocoa exporting company Agmark Pacific Limited during 1987/88 in which NGIP took up a substantial shareholding; a unique partnership which continued until recently, when, in 2006, the companies were merged to create today the largest agribusiness stakeholder within the PNG cocoa industry. This culminated with the Company listing on the PNG stock exchange in September 2009. In addition to cocoa cultivation, processing and export, the partner companies from the mid 1990’s became involved in a range of businesses to support the core commodity business of cocoa, these now include agricultural supplies, shipping & transport, building industry supplies, and engineering & manufacturing. More recently agricultural machinery & heavy plant and equipment sales have been added to the range.

Talina Cocoa Fermentary

Since the mid 1980’s until today the Talina Cocoa Fermentary has continued to produce the high quality cocoa that has become synonamous with Agmark Pacific as an exporter of PNG cocoa. Although today what is produced at the facility accounts for less than 5% of total exports, the facility maintains its reputation in its ability to process a consistently high quality product much sought after by the chocolate manufacturing industry. Cocoa beans are received daily from three sources, these are the company plantations, the company wet bean buying points, and client plantations. From these beans the company produces three brand names of cocoa under the P80 license. There is a hierarchy of brand names; the premier brand being the Tokiala Single Estate bean sourced only from the Tokiala plantation property. Second is the Gazelle brand which is “a Blend of Estate cocoa beans from East New Britain”, and thirdly there is the Tolai brand which makes up the largest portion of the cocoa processed at Talina. This brand is produced from the cocoa beans sourced from smallholder farmers throughout the Gazelle Peninsula of East New Britain.

Processing & Quality Controls

Fresh cocoa beans are received at the fermentary daily. The facility has the capacity to receive up to 40 tonnes per day during crop flush periods. The beans are thoroughly checked and screened before they are placed in the wooden fermentation boxes, which are set on a cascade so as to allow for ease of turning the beans from box to box every 24hrs over the 5-day fermentation period. An option exists, depending on bean condition, to increase this to six days with a shallow ferment on day one. On completion of fermentation the beans continue to cascade down to the dryer beds. Drying is a three day process with careful attention paid to timing and the use of hot air, ambient air and rest periods resulting in the production of a full and plump looking bean sample. As the drying process comes to an end the condition of the beans is jointly assessed with the export divisions cocoa assessors. Once cooled the beans are transferred by conveyor and elevator to overhead storage in preparation for winnowing and bagging before transferring to the company's export division.

Future Developments

The company is continuing to increase its capacity to work with its smallholder cocoa farming communities; aiming to maintain a sustainable supply base. Whilst, contributing to the overall corporate social responsibility objectives of the business. This is being achieved through the placement of qualified and experienced cocoa agriculturalists to manage the cocoa business throughout the branch network nationwide. These agriculturalists go to the field with a wealth of experience in cocoa cultivation and community skills. They are able to “talk cocoa” with farmers; bringing to them improvements in access to technical information, the market place, and input supplies. Links are maintained to the company's Tokiala Plantation property where the company Farmer Training Centre is located. Tokiala Plantation is recognized as a centre of excellence in cocoa cultivation; and the training centre allows for practical work experience training for farmers, training for plantation staff, employees other cocoa industry stakeholders, and for continued development of well trained staff for the branch network. The approach embraces the public-private partnerships approach. Through this the company continues to attract co-funding for its work towards improving the socioeconomic conditions experienced by its smallholder supply base, while at the same time increasing cocoa supply and maintaining market share.