KUALA LUMPUR: The Plantations and Commodities Ministry and the Malaysian Cocoa Board remains committed to reviving the country's cocoa industry by focusing on two primary sectors.

These sectors serve as income-generating platforms for the populace, namely the upstream and downstream sectors.

Deputy Plantations and Commodities Minister Datuk Chan Foong Hin said both sectors were capable of adding value through products that contribute to the country's economic development.

On Jan 24, Malaysia's cocoa sector had not yet achieved a satisfactory level of self-sustainability, according to Plantations and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani.

Johari noted that the production of cocoa beans in the country has declined significantly.

Responding during the question and answer session in the Dewan Rakyat today, Chan outlined several key efforts to rejuvenate the industry.

He said the ministry aims to expand the cocoa cultivation area from 5,985ha to 10,000ha within five years.

"This initiative also focuses on premium cocoa planting varieties that can penetrate niche markets through cultivation in identified land areas.

"With the existing market prospect assurance for cocoa within the country, it is hoped that this commodity will be allocated funds to expand up to 10,000 hectares as targeted, with an initial allocation of RM3 million for the year 2025," he said.

Chan said the ministry also plans to brand and promote local premium cocoa products, such as single-origin cocoa and unique-flavoured cocoa.

He said these strategies will enable cocoa producers to showcase the distinct taste of local cocoa, attracting both local and international chocolate makers.

"The board is actively transferring technology and promoting research and technology adaptation activities.

"Generating various technologies and innovations through research and development activities to address major pest issues in the cocoa industry in the upstream sector at one time," he said.

Chan said, among others, to strengthen the cocoa marketing chain by establishing lead cooperatives in each region.

He said to date, three cooperatives are serving as umbrella bodies to ensure the marketing of farm produce and domestic smallholder cocoa processing sectors is protected, especially in terms of sales prices and providing additional value-added benefits to the products.

"With the introduction of the 'farm-to-table' approach, cocoa producers can benefit from the income chain of products from their own farms.

"Encouragement of cooperative membership participation is also actively being carried out to strengthen cooperative membership in all three cooperatives," he said.

He said the ministry and the board were promoting the introduction of new technologies and the adaptation of existing technologies in agricultural practices.

This, said Chan, was to enhance productivity and facilitate farm management with the application of the latest technology through mechanisation, Internet of Things and others.

"This initiative can increase the interest of youth groups in joining the upstream sector.

"Marketing support serves as the strength for cocoa entrepreneurs or smallholders to continue cocoa cultivation in the country and subsequently become contributors of dried cocoa beans in line with industry requirements," he said.




Sumber : New Straits Times