KOTA KINABALU (June 23): The government together with stakeholders are now working to address the issue of raw material shortage facing the country’s cocoa industry, said Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Zuraida Kamaruddin.
She said the production of raw materials in the country, especially cocoa beans, at present could not meet the demand needed for the domestic cocoa products market, let alone to meet the demand for overseas markets.
Zuraida said one of the important measures being taken by the government to address the issue was to increase the upstream activities of the cocoa industry, especially to increase cocoa cultivation and plantation in the country.
“Currently, our processing hub in Johor has to import cocoa beans from abroad to export cocoa products, we have become a grinding centre now, if possible we want to grind our own beans for export.
“There is demand for cocoa products but currently we do not have enough raw materials, we still do not have enough crop area, so we are trying to increase it,” she told a press conference after attending the 2022 Malaysian Cocoa Industry Award ceremony here last night.
Zuraida said currently, the ministry was also engaging with state governments such as Sabah and Sarawak to expand cocoa cultivation in the country.
“We are also trying to get land for this crop and form cooperatives for this industry to make the management more effective and establish higher productivity and quality,” she said. — Bernama