Smallholders encouraged to venture into cocoa, white and black pepper sector

Publish date: Fri, 09 Sep 2022, 04:30 PM
KULAI: Oil palm smallholders are encouraged to plant cocoa, and black and white pepper as by-products to help increase upstream activities of the agro commodity.
Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Zuraida Kamaruddin said such an integration project would further boost the downstream development of the local pepper and cocoa sector, thereby making a significant contribution to the country's economic development.
"This is also a good way to increase the export of raw materials. Raw materials are in short supply due to weak upstream activities.
"We want to improve in terms of the involvement of smallholders at the upstream level, only then can we get yield from downstream activities and be able to export," she told a press conference at the Malaysian Family Agricommodity Tour programme with cocoa and pepper smallholders at Felda Inas, here today.
Zuraida said cocoa, black and white pepper are also increasingly in demand, and that the manufacturers of well-known chocolate brands such as Govida obtained their cocoa from Malaysia.
Meanwhile, she said that in 2019, the government decided to limit the oil palm acreage to 6.5 million hectares and as of 2022, ​​5.8 million hectares had been developed.
"The integration program has potential. We already have 5.8 million hectares of oil palm plantation,  so if we use 1 million hectares, even one, we can get abundant cocoa or black and white pepper," she said.
She said the ministry would discuss with large companies such as Felda, Sime Darby and IOI Corporation Bhd for such integration projects to be implemented in their oil palm plantations.
She called on those with abandoned land to utilise it for cocoa and black and white pepper farming. - Bernama
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