The 16th meeting of the National Focal Point for the ASEAN Cocoa Club (ACC) on ASEAN Cooperation and Joint Approaches in Agriculture and Forest Products Promotion Scheme opened in Ho Chi Minh City on May 22.

Addressing the event, Nguyen Van Hoa, Deputy Head of the Cultivation Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) said that cocoa has been grown widely in Vietnam since 200.

The country now has a total cocoa-cultivating area of 25,000 hectares, mainly in the Central Highlands, Southeastern and Mekong Delta regions, he noted.

Vietnam targets to expand the area to 35,000 hectares by 2015 and 50,000 hectares by 2020, harvesting an output of 26,000 tonnes and 52,000 tonnes of cocoa, respectively, he added.

Hoa said in order to fulfil the goal, his department has focused on creating new varieties and researching farming techniques, helping increase productivity, while encouraging farmers to grow cocoa.

During the meeting, participants discussed and shared experience in measures to effectively apply the Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), food safety methods and management of diseases on cocoa trees.

They also heard reports on the ASEAN’s Common Effective Preferential Tariff, non-tariff barriers and outcomes of the pilot cocoa cultivation programmes in Indonesia and Malaysia.-VNA