KUALA LUMPUR: The current El-Nino phenomenon will not affect the cocoa export revenue target of RM8 billion this year, said the director-general of the Malaysian Cocoa Board (LKM) Ramle Kasin.
He said cocoa export revenue showed a positive trend from the beginning of the year until this month, driven by continuous demand.
"Basically, the El-Nino phenomenon will have an impact on cocoa production, but not all places (states) experience severe effects caused by the phenomenon.
"I believe that with the country's improving economic situation, strong fundamentals and continued demand, Malaysia will be able to achieve the target," he told a press conference after the launch of the new Benns chocolate product by Benns Chocolate Factory Sdn Bhd.
The product was launched by the Deputy Minister of Plantation and Commodities Datuk Siti Aminah Aching. Earlier, Siti Aminah, in her speech, informed that cocoa export earnings in 2022 increased by 13 percent to RM7.8 billion compared to RM6.8 billion in 2021.
"For the period from January to March 2023, chocolate export revenue also increased by 30 percent to RM387.7 million compared to RM297.9 million in the same period last year," she said.
Meanwhile, Ramle said Benns Chocolate Factory 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 approximately 90 metric tons of local dry cocoa beans with SMC1 grade quality as well as collaboration on research and development of cocoa, chocolate and marketing programmes.
"So far, the Cocoa Cluster Cooperative has successfully supplied 13.5 metric tonnes of local cocoa beans to Benns," he said, adding that another 50 metric tons will be supplied next month, while the target supply of cocoa beans this year is 80 metric tonnes.
"Last year, the trading of dry cocoa beans managed by the Cocoa Cluster Cooperative amounted to 270 metric tons," he said.
The production of chocolate products that use local cocoa beans such as Benns chocolate is in line with LKM's target to develop Malaysian premium chocolate and increase the income of cocoa farmers, he said. - Bernama