KOTA SAMARAHAN, June 13 — Sarawak’s cocoa bean production showed an upward trend last year following the increased cocoa hectarage in the state.
According to Malaysian Cocoa Board (LKM) director (downstream technology) Haya Ramba, the increased cocoa hectarage in Kuching and Samarahan divisions contributed to the upward trend.
Haya, who is also LKM Kota Samarahan Research Centre manager, told Bernama recently that Department of Statistics figured show 6,800 hectares of cocoa farms in Sarawak.
He said although Sarawak has shown an upward trend in cocoa bean production, statistics show that the state only produced 151 tonnes of cocoa beans last year.
He said the low production was because there is no large-scale cocoa plantation in the state and it depends on smallholdings.
Haya said the cocoa industry in Sarawak has the potential to develop further and towards this, he said LKM is taking a bold step by setting up the Sarawak Cocoa Cluster to boost the cocoa industry in the state, adding that the cluster involves cocoa cultivation and processing of cocoa beans to chocolates.
“Chocolate entrepreneur development in Sarawak is quite encouraging and the programme will be intensified with the purchase of more machinery to train more cocoa products entrepreneurs in Sarawak,” he said, adding that 14 persons have undergone the training since 2013.
Haya said they will encourage Sarawak Cocoa Cluster Co-operative members to take up the course to produce block chocolate once the construction of the Sarawak Cocoa Cluster Complex at LKM Kota Samarahan is completed in October this year.
He said LKM’s cocoa cluster chain development programme will be the game-changer for upstream activities, adding that the programme will be implemented using the ‘farm to table’ or ‘beans to chocolate’ model to encourage the development of downstream activities.
Haya explained that the programme would be able to increase cocoa bean production, thus increasing the incomes of cocoa planters. — Bernama