Published on: Tuesday, February 19, 2013
He said this forecast is based on market information from the International Cocoa Organisation (ICCO) as they expect a two per cent increase to the demand for cocoa from 3.69 million tonnes to 3.99 million tonnes.
This scenario is expected to contribute to the solidification of cocoa prices for the year.
"I believe the RM6,500 to RM8,000 price per tonne of cocoa will enable cocoa farmers to reap a profitable return.
As such I hope more cocoa farmers in Penampang will plant cocoa either on a small scale or commercially and practise good agricultural practices.
"This step is expected to assist in increasing the supply of cocoa to local cocoa processors that require 300,000 tonnes each year bearing in mind Malaysia only produced 3,630 tonnes of cocoa in 2012.
"As such Malaysia has had to import the remaining 296,000 tonnes of cocoa from other producing countries such as Indonesia, Cote d'Ivoire and Ghana."
Speaking at a cocoa advanced technology course and meet the farmers event at Kg Kibunut, Monday, he said the Ministry would continue to carry out policies to strengthen and improve the competitiveness of the national cocoa industry.
"This involves the development of networks in development, research and commercialisation towards productivity, industry modernisation focussed on the use of the latest technology and innovation and the creation of new high value added products to fulfil the needs of the market.
"As such the Ministry has targeted the expansion of 2,000 hectares of cocoa being planted each year for the period 2012 to 2020." Dompok said this would mean the cocoa planting area would be increased from 20,543 hectares in 2011 to 40,000 hectares by 2020.
"This will contribute to the production of cocoa by as much as 60,000 tonnes, where it will meet at least 20 per cent of the national demand."
He said that this year the Government has approved allocations of RM12.6 million to develop 1,580 hectares of new cocoa planting areas nationwide through the cocoa new planting programme.
"Of that figure, 630 hectares had been allocated to the cocoa replanting programme in the State whereas 43 hectares of new potential areas had been identified in the Penampang district."
Dompok said, however, this figure can be increased if there were still new applications to join the programme this year or in the future.
Currently there are 93 hectares being planted with cocoa in Penampang belonging to 92 farmers in Kg Kibunut, Kg Putaton, Kg Timpangoh, Kg Terian and Kg Babagon.
In order to increase the productivity of existing cocoa crops and replanting old and less productive cocoa plants, the Government has approved an allocation of RM28 million for 2013.
"It is estimated that 8,000 hectares of cocoa crops will be rehabilitated under the Cocoa Crop Rehabilitation Programme to increase cocoa production.
"From that amount RM10 million will be allocated to increase productivity and rehabilitate 3,179 hectares of cocoa in the State."
Dompok also presented agricultural fertilisers and equipment to event participants and an incentive cheque for RM43,000 to Penampang Cocoa Growers Association Chairman Seminding Jeymi for the cleaning and protection of banana trees intercrops for participants of new cocoa plantings in the district for 2013.
He also took part in a dialogue session to discuss the issues and problems faced by cocoa farmers and toured a cocoa exhibition on the latest techniques and technology on the planting and management of cocoa.
Also present at the event were Moyog Assemblyman Datuk Donald Peter Mojuntin, Malaysia Cocoa Board Chairman cum Ranau MP Datuk Siringan Gubat, Malaysia Cocoa Board Director General Dr Lee Choon Hui.