ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
February 3, 2008
Malaysia's imports of coffee beans and related products continue to rise, reaching 43,600 tons worth RM305 million in 2006 from 29,800 tones worth RM135 million worth 2001, Agriculture & Agro-Based Industry Ministry deputy secretary-general Datuk Ibrahim Muhammad said Saturday.
This is happening despite Malaysia increasing its own coffee bean output as well as land under coffee plant cultivation in the peninsula, to 45 million kg and 11,100 ha respectively in 2006 from 26 million kg and 9,900 ha in 2004, he pointed out.
"This situation is expected to prevail unless the domestic coffee industry gets a fresh breath of life, especially in increasing production," he said at the launch of the latest Liberica clone of coffee at the Mardi Kluang Station here.
The text of his speech was read by Mardi (Malaysian Agricultural Research & Development Institute) director-general Datuk Dr Abdul Shukor Abdul Rahman.
According to him, the three new Liberica clones - MKL5, MKL6 and MKL7 - have higher yield than previous varieties and are more highly resistant to diseases and pests.
The ministry, he said, is urging coffee farmers to use the latest clones to improve not only their output but also for better product quality that meets the requirements of local coffee producers.
Dr Abdul Shukor said research on the new Liberica clones was undertaken between 1992 and 1995 and 11 of the clones were picked for final evaluation at the Mardi Kluang Station.
"The new clones can yield much more coffee fruit and dried coffee seeds than their predecessors," he added.
Until last December, about 1.7 million tons of coffee seeds, 75,000 seedlings, 36,000 grafted plants and 19,000 of the new clones have been given out by Mardi to interested parties, he disclosed.
He believed that the Liberica variety, widely cultivated by smallholders in the country, will continue to hold its own despite competition from the imported Robusta and Arabica beans.