Price of cocoa beans to increase steadily
Published on: Tuesday, August 12, 2014
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KOTA SAMARAHAN: The price of cocoa beans is anticipated to rise steadily until 2020 following a reduction in global supply, says the Malaysian Cocoa Board (MCB) director general, Dr Lee Choon Hui.He said the cocoa market is expected to strengthen as a global deficit of 85,000 tonnes of cocoa beans is anticipated.

"The price is now more than RM9,000 per metric tonne and is expected to further strengthen to RM11,723 (US$3,664) by 2018 with the world expected to experience a shortage of one million metric tonnes in 2020.

"So, there is money. All we need is hard work with the world seeking more chocolate and more dark cocoa," he told a press conference here Monday.

At the same press conference, Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said the price of cocoa beans has been standardised throughout the country.

The standardising was initiated by Uggah upon taking over the ministry as he felt it was unfair for prices to differ from state to state.

He said previously the price of cocoa beans was RM5,000 per metric tonne in Sarawak whereas in Sabah, it was RM8,000.

"Now the price is standardised, that is RM9,500 per metric tonne," he added.

Uggah had earlier officiated the opening of the "Training of Facilitators for Cocoa Safety Project" here Monday.

He said efforts are being taken by the government and the MCB to encourage farmers to plant up 40,000 hectares of cocoa trees by 2018.

"At the moment, there are only 15,000 hectares in the country with 5,500 hectares in Sabah, 5,000 hectares in Sarawak and the rest in the peninsula," he added.

Uggah said Malaysia used to have 400,000 hectares of cocoa tress in 1990.But this figure dropped to 11,000 hectares in 2012, due to a drastic drop in cocoa bean prices at that time.

This forced farmers to switch to other crops, especially oil palm and rubber.

"For the ministry and the MCB, lessons have been learnt from the weaknesses faced by the cocoa industry at that time and improvements to the system are being made.

"This is to help increase the cocoa beans production to maintain our position as the fifth largest producer globally," he added.

Uggah said Malaysia at present imports 300,000 metric tonnes of cocoa beans from various countries as local production is only at about 3,000 metric tonnes a year.

"In this regard, we have two programmes for the cocoa industry, namely, to continue strengthening downstream activities and at the same time, increase the production of cocoa beans within the country.

"This is a very challenging programme. That is why we have projected to plant around 40,000 hectares to produce 60,000 metric tonnes of cocoa beans by 2018," he added. -Bernama



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