KLUANG: The Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI) is actively conducting research in an effort to produce more coffee variants to meet demand following the shortage of local coffee beans.

Deputy Agriculture and Food Security Minister, Chan Foong Hin said the shortage can now be considered critical because local coffee production only meets about three per cent of domestic demand.

He said the country’s coffee production at the global level is only at a rate of 0.16 percent, while the rate of coffee imports to cover domestic consumption is as much as 97 per cent.

“The demand for coffee in the country is increasing, from 600,000 kilogrammes in 2021 to 800,000 kilogrammes last year (2022), and it is expected to continue to rise every year...this is the main challenge of the coffee production industry every year.

“Among other challenges are competitors from other commodities, financial assistance, land area for cultivation, labour force, input costs, and competition from neighbouring countries,“ he said.

He said this in his speech when officiating MARDI’s New Liberica Coffee Clones and Innovation launching ceremony at MARDI Kluang, which was also attended by MARDI chairman Dr Azman Ismail.

Chan said the production of three new Liberica coffee clones by MARDI named MKL 8, MKL 9 and MKL 10 is expected to be able to produce coffee products that have high competitiveness and are expected to have good sales.

He said these new clones will be able to save production costs and time to produce coffee within eight to nine months compared to 15 to 16 months before.

“Due to MARDI’s efforts, I also see that Johor is a suitable place for the cultivation of Liberica type coffee, such as in Kluang and Batu Pahat... the land in this area is also fertile, thus it is suitable for the development of the country’s coffee (industry).

“MARDI has been asked to continue to intensify research and development of coffee technology, at the same time the state government needs to jointly publicise and support the innovations produced so that those involved in the national coffee industry receive the benefits,“ he said.

He added that his ministry also supports the development of the coffee industry and is ready to improve related infrastructure such as in the farm area and also in processing.-Bernama