Single-origin Premium Quality Cocoa Beans to Be Synonymous With Malaysian Production
Malaysia is seeking prominence as a producer of single-origin premium quality cocoa beans.
The Malaysian Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities (MPIC) is implementing pivotal strategies to boost cocoa bean production. The aim is to position Malaysia as a top producer of single-origin premium quality cocoa beans. Cross-industry implementation of sustainable practices and international standards are two of the main strategies in action.
At the recently held Belgium-Malaysia Partners Towards a Regional Sustainable Chocolate Industry webinar, the concept of sustainable development was prioritized. National strategies will be rolling out, focusing on sustainable industry practices for cocoa bean planting and processing. This includes agricultural industrialization practices with value-add practices as well as crop diversification, etc.
The overall aim is to enable ecologically sound and ideal use of resources while maximizing revenue. Malaysia’s average cocoa export figures in 2020 were a robust RM6.23 billion and USD2,384 per tonne – an annual increase of 1.8%. Malaysia is also the largest cocoa grinder in Asia and has a cocoa cultivation area of approximately 5,898 hectares.
ISO, IEC, and Malaysian Standards
The main issue with single-origin goods is providing reliable product origin assurances. The Malaysian Cocoa Board (LKM) is currently innovating an all-encompassing system to facilitate cocoa bean’s traceability and heritage. This work is progressing rapidly in Malaysia’s ISO/IEC 17025 accredited analytical laboratories. Professional collaborations and evaluations from expert cocoa and chocolate, liquor, and sensory panelists are also expediting the solution.
By setting and maintaining such benchmarks, Malaysia’s production of cocoa beans will meet applicable international standards. This includes Malaysian Standards, ISO (International Organisation for Standardisation), and IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission). The ISO and IEC are independent, not-for-profit, and non-governmental organizations that set international standards guidelines. Malaysian laboratories have received this high accreditation for their well-equipped chemical and microbiological analytical capacities.
Towards a Sustainable Cocoa Industry
The global commodity market has seen a downtrend in upstream cocoa industry demand and production growth. The cocoa grinding industry is faltering due to dwindling interest in local cocoa cultivation leading to a lack of output. Other issues include price volatility, mounting costs, pests and diseases, land usage for high-yield produce such as oil palm, etc. The implementation of MPIC’s new strategies will address these issues to create better outcomes.
The production of single-origin premium quality cocoa beans will have quantifiable metrics on many levels. Primarily, the premium price guarantee will reflect the high and impeccable quality of the cocoa beans. On a macro scale, this will lead to more international demand and interest in such products. This, in turn, will spur and motivate farmers to adopt sustainable production practices in cocoa cultivation.
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