Venture into cocoa planting, Willie tells farmers

Willie (second left) looking at the 'Chelum' chocolate on sale at the event.

By Jacob Achoi

KUCHING, Nov 5: Deputy Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities Datuk Willie Mongin today urged local farmers to venture into planting cocoa, which he opined has vast commercial potential.

He said farmers who wish to plant the commodity can always seek assistance from the Malaysian Cocoa Board (LKM).

According to Willie, the country has to import cocoa beans for downstream activities.

“For cocoa beans, we have to import about 320,000 tonnes per year for our grinders for downstream activities like making chocolates. Given such scenario, there is a great potential for cocoa growers, where our local farmers can venture into to increase their income,” Willie said when officiating at the ‘Jom Bisamah Koko’ programme at Kpg Semedang.

The programme is part of the AgriCommodity’s #KeluargaMalaysia roadshow organised by the Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities.

Willie added that the cocoa beans were mostly imported from Ghana and the Ivory Coast.

He added that local farmers would have no problem selling their produce, adding that a factory has been set up in Kota Samarahan which buys the commodity.

Prices of commodities such as cocoa, pepper and oil palm has increased under the new government under Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri, Willie said.

The price of cocoa had increased from between RM4 and RM5 per kilogramme to RM7.5, while black pepper and white pepper has increased from RM5 per kilogramme to RM13, and RM15 per kilogramme to RM28, respectively.

At the event, Willie also launched the locally made ‘Chelum’ chocolate and presened food baskets to 29 cocoa smallholders in the area who were affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. — DayakDaily