Kraft calls on India to boost cocoa production

Posted by Nicole Eckersley on 30th June 2011

Kraft Foods is encouraging the Indian government to develop a comprehensive cocoa production development policy, claiming domestic supplies are too poor and scant to fuel its growing needs.

Atul Bhatia, executive director for research and innovation at Cadbury’s Indian subsidiary, stressed in an interview with just-food that while cocoa is an essential part of his company’s business, imports are often essential. Production is not widespread – cocoa is not a native crop – and existing processing generally involves rudimentary farm-based manual labour. This can spark supply shortfalls, costing the company and its rivals dear in expensive imports.

“We are very keen that we, along with the Government institute a research programme in cocoa cultivation to innovate the farmyard processes and get better yields and quality,” Bhatia said.

He said Cadbury India was already supporting research projects in association with local universities for improving cocoa cultivation in the southern Indian state of Kerala, where the crop is grown alongside coconuts.

Speaking on the sidelines of a food R&D conference in New Delhi organised by the Indian government and industry federation FICCI, Bhatia added research could also be valuable in improving Indian cereal production, notably wheat.

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