REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, JAKARTA - Indonesia has ambition to defeat Ivory Coast and Ghana as the biggest cocoa producers. To achieve its ambition, Indonesia must enhance the prime commodity and create downstream industry to add its values, Director of Spices and Seasoning Crops at the Ministry of Agriculture, Azwar AB, said.
"The main problem is to enhance the plant productivity. About 98 percent of 1.67 million hectare cocoa plant belongs to persons who inherit the plants from their ancestors," Azwar said on Monday in the press release.
Further, the plants do not grow from prime quality seed, which most of them are 25 years old and prone to pests. The average production per hectare is only 600-700 kilograms.
"The lack of knowledge and professional instructors also hamper the production target," he explained.
The data in 2011 showed that the biggest cocoa producers in Indonesia are Sulawesi, Sumatera, Maluku, and Papua. Then followed by Java Island, NTT, NTB, Bali and Kalimantan. The total production was 712,231 tonnes. About 140,500 tonnes, worth 396.6 million USD, was exported.
"Meanwhile, our import of cocoa in every product reaches 15 tonnes that costs 55.4 million USD," Azwar said.
As the cocoa product export demonstrate ppsitive trend, its export of cocoa bean is declining. The export of cocoa products is increasing by 56 percent in 2011."We hope to develop downstream industry in Indonesia," he said the added that government efforts including the production, productivity, and quality of cocoa.