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CM: State Government Will Support Growth Of Cocoa Production Sector
Malaysian Cocoa Board director general Dr Ramle Kasin (left) briefing Hajiji (second left) about the products showcased in the week-long festival which is being held at Imago shopping mall.
June 20th, 2022 | 11:28 AM | 303 views
The state government will support the growth and expansion of the cocoa production sector in Sabah, said Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Hajiji Noor.
Hajiji said that cocoa-based products from Sabah are in high demand therefore the potential for the sector to expand further is huge.
Speaking at the launching of the Sabah Cocoa Festival 2022 on Sunday, Hajiji said that Sabah is the country’s leading cocoa producer and it exported a total of RM16.16 million worth of cocoa and cocoa products last year.
Of the total, the export value of chocolate was RM7.72 million or 10.6 per cent, he said, adding that last year, Sabah accounted for 59 per cent of the country’s total cocoa production, which was 540 metric tonnes.
“Until today, Sabah is still a major contributor to the cocoa industry throughout the country either in terms of area or the production of quality raw cocoa. A total of five districts are active cocoa cultivation areas in Sabah, namely Ranau, Kota Marudu, Tenom, Kota Belud and Tambunan,” he added.
When met by reporters after the launching ceremony, Hajiji said that he was happy to see the presence of so many entrepreneurs who are involved in making cocoa-based products.
“Cocoa is synonymous with Sabah and this is such a great effort by all the entrepreneurs. Maybe in the future it would be better to have more land developed with cocoa as cocoa-based products are not only enjoyed domestically but also internationally,” he stressed.
When asked if the government has any plans to increase the number of districts to cultivate cocoa, Hajiji said he had mentioned to chairman of the Malaysian Cocoa Board, Rahimah Majid that the state government will give consideration to the needs of cocoa cultivators in the state.
“This is the way the state government supports the sector’s growth and expansion,” he said.
In his speech earlier Hajiji said he is optimistic that in line with the economic recovery, cocoa downstream activities are expected to continue to grow with the increase in the value of semi-processed cocoa products and cocoa final products.
Therefore, continuous efforts must be made by the relevant parties, especially the Malaysian Cocoa Board to ensure the continued development of cocoa as the third largest commodity crop in the country, he pointed out.
According to him, various strategies have been formulated to ensure that the cocoa industry remains a competitive and resilient economic activity, thus contributing to the country’s income.
He said in line with the direction of the long-term strategy to increase the contribution to the economy and national income, strategies to increase the consumption of local cocoa through various promotional mediums will continue to be implemented and intensified.
“I understand the production of cocoa beans in Sabah has contributed to the demand for premium cocoa beans required by Bean-to-Bar chocolate entrepreneurs (process dried cocoa beans to chocolate products), Single Origin chocolate entrepreneurs (chocolate produced from cocoa beans from only one location) and Artisanal Chocolate,” said Hajiji.
These businesses produce premium chocolate for niche markets and although the quantity is small, the price or value of the product is high, he said.
“This means that downstream cocoa products have a big impact on the state’s economy if they continue to be diversified. I was informed that the downstream industry in Sabah now consists of five companies manufacturing chocolate and cocoa confectionery or cocoa-based foods as well as 32 local chocolate entrepreneurs.
“In 2021, the sales value of chocolate entrepreneurs in Sabah amounted to RM137,487. I hope this effort will be doubled so that more cocoa downstream product operators are created in Sabah,” said Hajiji.
Hajiji hopes that Malaysian Cocoa Board will continue to strive to promote the downstream cocoa industry products produced by entrepreneurs in Sabah and that cocoa and chocolate entrepreneurs in Sabah would continue to increase production and produce more varieties of cocoa-based products that are unique and feature raw materials from the state.
“These products can be used as additional tourism products for the state of Sabah such as Sabah Tea chocolate, Kelulut Honey chocolate and Kota Marudu single origin chocolate,” he said.
courtesy of THE BORNEO POST
by THE BORNEO POST
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