Vietnam pushes for cocoa market growth

By Charlotte Eyre

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Cocoa, Indonesia, Agriculture

Vietnam looks set to become one of Asia's primary cocoa producers,
with the government pledging to invest 40 billion
dong (€1.8m) in the country's burgeoning cocoa trade, according to
local news reports.

In recent years Vietnam has been reliant on its coffee market for agricultural profit. However, over-planting led to a world price crash in the 1990s and led to a concerted effort by the government to develop other crops. The agricultural ministry told the Vietnam news agency that it would expand cocoa acreage to 60,000 hectares over the next eight years, from the 7,000 hectares currently in use, with the aim of reaching an output of 52,000 tonnes by 2015. Vietnam would plant 20,000 hectares more by 2020 when output would reach 108,000 tonnes and export revenues would grow to $120m, the ministry said. The country decided to grown cocoa as a commercial crop soon after the coffee price cash, which caused the farming industry to fall into financial chaos. Confectionery manufacturers such as Mars have supported the project over the last decade, fearing over reliance on the African cocoa nations, such as the Ivory Coast, where political unrest is common. The US government has also lent a helping hand, and in 2005 it sponsored a programme known as Success Alliance, encouraging companies such as Cargill to teach Vietnamese farmers to grow cocoa. According to figures released by the World Cocoa Foundation, Indonesia is Asia's leading cocoa producer, accounting for 75 per cent of the total output, while Malaysia is the top processor, followed by Indonesia, Singapore, Japan, China and Thailand. Between 1996 and 2006, worldwide cocoa consumption grew an average rate of 2.3 per cent per annum​, representing a total increase of 700 000 tonnes, the foundation said. World grindings have increased almost every year over the same period, and grew 2.9 per cent in 2005, to reach 3.4 million tones.

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