Barry Callebaut has launched a new research program in Malaysia, which will include experimental plots on an existing cocoa plantation.
The cocoa and chocolate products manufacturer says the project is aimed at developing new, sustainable cocoa cultivation techniques, with a specific eye toward issues relevant to the Asian region.
“Securing the future of the cocoa industry demands that we find more sustainable cultivation methods now,” says Hans Vriens, chief innovation officer at Barry Callebaut. “This important program is proving key to our overarching goal of boosting the viability of cocoa production by improving both quality and productivity and, by doing so, increasing incomes for local farmers and their communities.”
Trials will be conducted under a variety of conditions in both new and existing plantations.
Several agricultural techniques and good agriculture practices (GAP) will be tested, including new pruning and grafting techniques, the use of organic fertilizers, other organic cultivation techniques and agro-forestry principles.
A further area of focus will be improved post-harvest cocoa treatment techniques to improve Malaysian cocoa bean quality to achieve “zero-defect” status.
Preparations are already underway for the rehabilitation and planting of the experimental plots, and the first preliminary results are expected in June 2012.
The research program is being conducted in collaboration with the Malaysian company Kuala Lumpur Kepong Berhad.
For more information on Barry Callebaut, visit www.barry-callebaut.com.