The Cultivation Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) must review cocoa development plans and draw specific measures to encourage farmers to grow this industrial tree.

At a recent conference in Hanoi on opportunities and challenges for cocoa development in Vietnam, MARD Deputy Minister Le Quoc Doanh urged the building of a project on the development of Vietnam’s cocoa industry to be submitted to the ministry in the first quarter of next year.

He said his ministry has deployed a number of agricultural promotion programmes to make cocoa the country’s major produce.

The ministry has planned about 50,000 ha for cocoa cultivation by 2020 but only 16,000 ha has been put into use to date, he said, adding that unclear development orientations have made the crop less attractive to farmers.

Phan Van Don, Vice Director of southern Binh Phuoc province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, attributed insufficient investment and poor farmers’ knowledge to the unsuccessful development of the cocoa industry.

He suggested good credit sources to encourage farmers to grow cocoa as well as the involvement of businesses in building a value chain for the crop.

Participants at the conference agreed that in order to boost the cocoa development, the Government and relevant agencies should equip farmers with farming techniques as well as help them better access consumption markets.

According to the Cultivation Department, Vietnam’s cocoa industry sees a great opportunity as world demands remain high. At present, the country only produces about 6,000 tonnes of dry cocoa bean per year due to low productivity and modest cultivation areas.-VNA