SIMUNJAN: The cocoa agri-commodity industry in Sarawak needs to be further strengthened and enhanced, and not just focusing on cocoa bean processing, says Deputy Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Willie Mongin.
Speaking while officiating at the opening ceremony of the Mini Cocoa Processing Centre and Jalan Ladang in conjunction with the #KeluargaMalaysia 2022 Agri-commodity Tour Programme in Kampung Ketimbong, Sebuyau on Wednesday (April 13), Mongin said the cocoa industry had the potential to expand into other downstream products such as chocolate.
Meanwhile, Batang Lupar MP Datuk Seri Rohani Abdul Karim, speaking at the same event, was confident that the cocoa industry could be expanded in order to improve the industry in Sarawak and Malaysia in general.
“Sarawak is one of the states with a lot of cocoa growing areas apart from Sabah and Peninsular Malaysia so good commercialisation and many downstream activities need to be implemented.
“We will work together to ensure that the people will get the best, and cocoa farmers need to continue their commitment in this industry as well as make it a source of income,” Rohani added.
The Kampung Ketimbong Mini Cocoa Processing Centre, which was completed in July last year, is equipped with a fermentation box with a capacity of 100kg of wet cocoa beans and a cocoa bean drying platform.
It aims to provide facilities to cocoa farmers around Sebuyau to process wet cocoa beans in order to produce better quality cocoa beans.
Apart from that, Mongin also officiated the opening of Jalan Ladang Kampung Ketimbong which was fully completed in November 2020 in order to provide facilities to cocoa farmers in the village.
The construction of these two facilities will benefit cocoa farmers under the Kelompok Kampung Ketimbong developed by Malaysian Cocoa Board through the New Planting Programme in 2018 (TB18) and 2019 (TB19).
Currently, the total crop area in the area is 14.13 hectares which is cultivated by 16 farmers who also receive incentives such as fertiliser, agricultural equipment as well as training and advisory services.
Also present at the event were the manager of Malaysian Cocoa Board (Cocoa Research & Development Centre), Kota Samarahan, Navies Maisin, representatives of departments and agencies in the Simunjan and Samarahan districts, community leaders and other villagers.
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