Govt to allocate RM9.5mil to boost local cocoa production, says plantation minister

NILAI: In response to a growing gap in domestic cocoa production, the government will allocate RM9.5mil to implement a new cocoa plantation project and cocoa farm recovery project with the ultimate goal of securing a stronger foothold in the international cocoa market, says Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani,

The Plantation and Commodities Minister said the plan, which includes the cultivation of a new 350ha cocoa plantation and the rehabilitation of existing farms across 2,126ha.

He said there had been a significant increase in cocoa prices, which have soared from RM9,000 to RM28,000 per tonne.

This upward trend is anticipated to continue over the next two to three years and was a golden opportunity for the nation's small-scale cocoa farmers.

"The Malaysian Cocoa Board will supervise these projects and provide support to smallholders to address any challenges they face in cocoa farming," he said during the launch of Nestle KitKat Dark Borneo.

He also said despite the dominance of a few cocoa-producing nations, Malaysia had to grow in the global cocoa market.

He said Malaysia's established presence in the midstream and downstream sectors of the cocoa industry also positions the nation well.

The cocoa industry is a contributor to Malaysia's economy, with exports amounting to RM8.2bil.

The introduction of KitKat Dark Borneo, featuring 100% premium cocoa beans from Sabah and Sarawak, highlights Nestle Malaysia Bhd's commitment to utilising local, sustainable ingredients, said its chief executive officer Juan Aranols.

He said KitKat Dark Borneo is produced at the halal-certified Chembong industrial complex in Negri Sembilan and equipped with a new biomass boiler plant which significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

"This facility is one the largest Nestle confectionery plants in Asia and plays a pivotal role as an export manufacturing hub to all Asean markets and other destinations," he said.

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