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El Nino won't effect RM8bil export goal: Malaysian Cocoa Board

Publish date: Thu, 08 Jun 2023, 08:24 PM

CHERAS: Malaysian Cocoa Board (LKM) does not expect the El Nino phenomenon to affect Malaysia's target to achieve RM8 billion cocoa export this year.

LKM director general Dr Ramle Kasin said the EI-Nino hot weather that affected the country had no substantial impact on the cocoa industry as a whole, including overall production.

While the El-Nino would generate extremely hot weather and thus pose an impact on cocoa crop, it would not affect all areas of the country, Ramle said.

"With the strong development of the cocoa sector and rising demand, I am confident we will achieve the RM8 billion target," he said at a press conference after the launch of Benns Chocolate Sdn Bhd's products here today.

"The chocolate manufacturing sector is also one of the main contributors to the downstream sector of the cocoa industry. The income from cocoa exports increased 13 per cent to RM7.8 billion in 2022 from RM6.8 billion in 2021," Ramle said.

LKM is hopeful that small cocoa farmers will continue to develop cocoa plants and boost production due to the great demand for local cocoa beans and high price offers for quality cocoa beans.

"Several international companies are interested in obtaining Malaysian premium cocoa beans, and this is a positive scenario that is expected to be a catalyst for increasing local premium cocoa bean production," he added.

Deputy Plantation and Commodities Minister Datuk Siti Aminah Aching said chocolate export revenues climbed 30 per cent to RM387.7 million from January to March 2023, grom RM297.9 million in the same period last year.

She said in order to keep local cocoa mills operating, the supply of cocoa beans must be sufficient, and that more than 90 per cent of cocoa beans are now imported.

"In order to expand cocoa cultivation in the country, LKM will implement the new crops project 2023 with a target area of 200 hectares across the country, of which 100 hectares are in Sabah, 80 hectares in Sarawak, and 20 hectares in the peninsula. The country's cocoa plantation area stands at 5,985 hectares so far," she added.

Meanwhile, Ramle said Benns Chocolate had started cooperation with LKM through a proposal in January 2023.

"Among the proposals agreed upon is that LKM through the Cocoa Cluster Cooperative will supply about 90 tonnrss of local dry cocoa beans with SMC1 grade quality as well as collaboration on research and development of cocoa, chocolate and marketing programmes," he added.

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