Cocoa Team needs to expand membership to include smallholders – Kok

Teresa Kok

RANAU: The Ministry of Primary Industries has recommended that the membership of the Cocoa Team (or C-Team), which is made up of cocoa entrepreneurs, to be expanded to include cocoa smallholders throughout the country.

Its Minister, Teresa Kok said the initiative, spearheaded by the Malaysian Cocoa Board (MCB), was instrumental in increasing cocoa productivity and production through an efficient and effective in-situ plantation management.

“I would like to propose that the C-Team scope to be enlarged to include cocoa smallholders by forming cocoa community teams or CC teams involving the entire cocoa acreage of 17,550 hectares.

“This effort is aimed at increasing cocoa production and meeting the needs of the local cocoa industry,” he said at the closing ceremony of the C-Team Enhancement Workshop here yesterday.

The text of her speech was read by Deputy Primary Industries Minister Shamsul Iskandar Mohd Akin.

Kok said 30 C-Team groups, involving cocoa growers, which were set up since 2016, succeeded in increasing cocoa production by between six and 104 per cent in Kelantan, Johor, Melaka and Sabah.

On cocoa development in Sabah, she said cocoa was first cultivated in Ranau in 1998 and the cultivation grew rapidly to become the Sabah Cocoa Cluster.

Kok said growth along the value chain was vital for the cluster, as the development of cocoa beans into chocolate not only would promote cocoa cultivation activities, but also cocoa processing, cocoa manufacturing, commerce and commercial activities.

“This concept will also indirectly increase the income of smallholders with the production of more cocoa-based products and the creation of a commercial-based entity,” he said

At the event, Shamsul Iskandar also launched the Malaysian Cocoa Genome Network (Genome Browser), which resulted from MCB’s research, for the benefit of the cocoa research community to obtain data and analytical apps on the development of genomics, genetics and new cocoa varieties. – Bernama

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