Malaysian cocoa plant awarded for best practice

There is finally some good news coming out of the cocoa industry, with news that a Malaysian plantation has been awarded the Coca Industry Award for best welfare and technology practices.

The award recognises the physical quality of the estate, its use of technology, agronomic practices and most importantly the welfare of workers.

The ethical and welfare standards within the cocoa industry revealed in recent years has led to most reputable companies promoting their use of alliance certified cocoa beans, ensuring no child labour or unsafe working conditions for employees in some of the world’s poorest countries.

Nestle announced on Wednesday it would be conducting an investigation into allegations of child labour at one of the West African cocoa farms it sources from.

Together with KLK Selborne Estate, one of the leading cocoa plantations in Malaysia owned by Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd (KLK), Barry Callebaut initiated a joint agronomy research program in June 2011.

KLK Selborne Estate won this year’s Cocoa Industry Award for the best plantation in Malaysia given by the Malaysian Cocoa Board.

For the awarded plantation, Barry Callebaut contributed the Research & Development facility (that is a laboratory for fermentation research and a laboratory for agronomy research), the cocoa fermentation unit as well as the sun and artificial drying unit.

In light of securing the long-term supply of cocoa beans, Barry Callebaut initiated the joint agronomy research program with KLK Selborne Estatein collaboration with the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL), Switzerland, the Bolivian consultancy ECOTOP and the University of Gent, Belgium.

The research program focuses on developing new agronomy techniques aimed at increasing plantation yields and enhancing cocoa bean quality while managing cocoa plantations in a sustainable manner in order to ensure their future productivity.

The results of this multi-year trial will be used to help develop new strategies for increasing cocoa production.

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