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Malaysia can integrate into global cocoa mart
Published on: Tuesday, May 07, 2024
By: Bernama
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Malaysia can integrate into global cocoa mart
NILAI: Plantation and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani said Malaysia has great potential to integrate into the global cocoa market, which is currently highly dependent on a few cocoa producing countries. 

He said Malaysia is one of the main cocoa players in the world, especially at the midstream and downstream levels.

The cocoa industry contributes as much as RM8.2 billion to the country’s export revenue. In 2023, Malaysia produced 270 tonnes of cocoa beans while importing as much as 533,000 tonnes of cocoa beans.

“Our ministry, together with the Malaysian Cocoa Board (MCB) are committed to not only revitalise, but also enrich our cocoa industry. It is our task to re-energise the upstream and downstream sectors, ensuring that our approaches not only increase income generation but also instil environmental stewardship among our communities,” he said during the launch of KitKat Dark Borneo at the Malaysian Cocoa Board here.

Johari said KitKat Dark Borneo which uses 100 per cent premium cocoa beans from Sabah and Sarawak is in line with MCB’s direction in increasing the production of premium chocolate products.

He said product release collaboration like this is an attractive marketing platform for leading brands like Nestle and the initiative can give local cocoa bean producers the opportunity to showcase the uniqueness of agricultural products with sustainable crop management.

He said MCB will implement a 350-hectare new cocoa plantation project and a 2,126-hectare cocoa plantation rehabilitation project with an allocation of RM9.5 million.

“I hope this initiative can produce an economic spillover effect and intensify economic activities along the supply chain. Subsequently, grinders in Europe will continue to depend on this country to supply cocoa beans due to the suitable climate and weather,” he said.

Meanwhile, Nestle (Malaysia) Bhd chief executive officer Juan Aranols said the beans for KitKat Dark Borneo are sourced through the Nestle Borneo Cocoa Initiative (NBCI) launched in September last year. 

He added that NBCI is a strategic partnership between Nestle Malaysia and the MCB to expand the company’s Farmer Connect programme to East Malaysia.

“This is the latest farming venture by Nestle Malaysia to support better and sustainable agricultural practices, contributing to the nation’s food security and improved livelihoods for the farmers.

“The expansion through NBCI to East Malaysia offers great opportunity to develop local cocoa supply building on the favourable soil and weather conditions in Sabah and Sarawak, while contributing towards positioning Malaysia back in the global supply landscape for this highly valued crop,” he said during the launch. 

Aranols added by using Trinitario cocoa beans grown in Borneo’s fertile volcanic soil and tropical rainforest climate, which goes through a careful fermentation and sun drying process, the KitKat Dark Borneo with 52 per cent cocoa content strikes a perfect balance of rich and creamy taste, with unique fruity notes that give the product a very distinct and sophisticated personality. 

He said KitKat Dark Borneo is part of the KitKat product range produced at the halal-certified Chembong industrial complex in Negeri 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.

Our approach includes implementing regenerative agriculture practices like agroforestry and intercropping, which helps to ensure the soil health for the long run, as well as develop the crop yield, which helps in boosting the local farmers’ income.”

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