Malaysia is hoping to transform its cocoa industry into the country’s 4th largest commodity after palm oil, rubber and timber.
According to its Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities, Datok Zuraida Kamarudin, “The ministry will help smallholders to increase their crops and productivity by recommending that they plant cocoa trees from good breeds. The quality of cocoa beans produced in Malaysia has gained international recognition and appreciation. So, if we can focus on growing high quality cocoa, it will definitely generate income. The cocoa industry should also be made a trademark (of Malaysia) not only for smallholders at the downstream level but also to be an attraction for tourists.”
Her announcement was made while attending the opening of Sarawak Cocoa Cluster Complex in December last year. The Malaysian Cocoa Board is now on full-gear to help local chocolate enterpreneurs to promote their products in both domestic and international markets.
She said, “We want the people to know that local chocolate brands such as Magnificient, Marvelous and Royal are products produced in Malaysia such as Beryl’s chocolate which has become the country’s number one chocolate exporter.”
The RM4.6 million (US$1.1 million) Sarawak Cocoa Cluster Complex in Kota Samarahan was completed last May and is part of the Cocoa Cluster Chain Development Programme under the 12th Malaysia Plan.