KULAI, Johor: Malaysian manufactured chocolates have been well received overseas with the export value showing a rise since 2015.
The export value rose to RM598.09 million (US$144 million) in 2016 compared to RM470.99 million previously, primary industries minister Teresa Kok Suh Sim said on Monday (Jun 24).
The export value in 2017 also rose to RM868.60 million, she added.
"In 2018, the export value was even higher at RM1.03 billion, while for the first quarter of this year (January to March) it registered RM233.42 million," she added.
At present, Malaysian chocolates are exported to 128 countries with key market segments being Singapore, Indonesia, the United States, Japan and China.
Kok said there were 51 chocolate producers in the country and among the more renowned brands are Beryl's, Fidani and Harriston.
Malaysian manufactured chocolates are of an international standard and Malaysians are encouraged to buy and promote the product, she said.
"Chocolate production is showing an expanding trend. We must support the cocoa industry and the country’s chocolate," Kok added.
Kok also said the cocoa industry specifically contributed RM5.55 billion to the country’s export income last year, driven by rapid development in the downstream segment for the commodity.
According to Kok, cocoa cultivation in Malaysia covered 12,000 hectares with the primary areas being Ranau in Sabah, Kota Samarahan (Sarawak) as well as Jerantut and Kuala Lipis (Pahang).
Last year, Malaysia was the second largest processor of cocoa seeds in Asia and seventh globally.
It had a 22 per cent market share for cocoa-based products in Asia and Oceania.