KUALA LUMPUR: Nestle (M) Bhd has inked a memorandum of understanding with the Malaysian Cocoa Board (MCB) to promote sustainable and responsible sourcing, as well as the adoption of regenerative agriculture practices by farmers.
In a statement, the food and beverage group said the Nestle Borneo Cocoa Initiative is part of the global Nestle Cocoa Plan Initiative, which aims to shape a responsible cocoa supply chain to improve the livelihood of farming communities, eliminate child labour and provide a framework of transparency and traceability, while improving yields and quality of the crop.
The initiative marked the first expansion of Nestle Malaysia’s Farmer Connect programme to Sabah and Sarawak.
As part of the initiative, Nestle is launching its Nestle Farmer Connect Responsible Cocoa Sourcing programme in Sarawak, which will support local farmers in the adoption of regenerative agriculture practices that will help protect the soil, improve the yield and elevate over time the quality of local cocoa production.
Initially, the cocoa produced through this initiative will be used for the manufacturing of Kit Kat products in Chembong, Negri Sembilan
In addition, Nestle will provide technical expertise and training to MCB and participating farmers with a focus on adopting regenerative agriculture techniques such as agroforestry with compatible species such as palm oil or rubber trees, or intercropping with durian, petai or other commercially viable fruits and vegetables, creating additional sources of income for the farmers.
“With this partnership in place, we will now be able to expand our effort to empower cocoa farmers with the knowledge and tools they need to cultivate cocoa sustainably.
“These are exciting times for Nestle Malaysia, as we continue to ramp up our efforts to diversify and expand the availability of locally produced, responsibly sourced high-quality raw materials as well as ingredients for our products,” said Nestle Malaysia CEO Juan Aranols.
MCB director-general Datuk Ramle Kasin added that the collaboration served as a major stride forward in its quest for sustainable cocoa farming.
“Nestle Malaysia’s extensive experience and resources, coupled with our network and industry expertise, will undoubtedly create a positive impact on our local farmers and the environment.
“Together, we aim to establish a model that promotes economic growth through sustainable practices.”