Gov’t Has Allocated RM2.67 Mln To Help Over 4,000 Cocoa Growers

TAWAU: The government has allocated RM2.67 million this year to help more than 4,000 cocoa growers nationwide, according to Malaysian Cocoa Board (LKM) chairman Dr Aliakbar Gulasan.

He said LKM had started channelling the allocation in the form of equipment, farm management, cocoa fertilisers, among others, in an effort to help small and medium-scale growers.

“LKM also plans to hold a large-scale campaign to ensure farmers continue to plant cocoa trees, as well, we want to show that this crop is a very competitive commodity in the market.

“For now, we want to restore the confidence of the farmers to continue working on their cocoa farms,” he told reporters here.

Earlier, he officiated the central-level LKM Appreciation Ceremony for the Tawau and Madai area farmers organisations here, which was also attended by LKM’s Research and Development Division deputy director-general Dr Ahmad Kamil Mohd Jaafar.

Aliakbar said the commodity was able to guarantee the livelihood of the farmers because despite competing with other crops, the price of cocoa remained relatively stable, and had a promising export market, especially in Europe.

“LKM will continue to play a role in conducting research and solving the problems of cocoa growers as well as helping to promote this crop, especially in the upstream and downstream sectors,” he said.

Meanwhile, Ahmad Kamil said Malaysia would receive expert assistance from Belgium in an effort to improve the quality and production of cocoa and chocolate products in the country.

“We know Belgium is a major producer of chocolate, and the country’s chocolate quality is unmatched. The (Belgian) embassy here will help us in terms of improving the chocolate products in Malaysia, including holding joint workshops and bringing experts to Malaysia,” he said.

Ahmad Kamil said Malaysia was among the smaller producers of cocoa, and last year about 700,000 tonnes were exported to Europe.