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Ramle K
Turiman Suandi
Azhar I
Sapiyah Subali

Keywords: cocoa smallholders, development programs, and extension evaluation


This paper is the result of the evaluation on the implementation of the Malaysia
Cocoa Smallholder Development Program (CSDP), one of the extension
programs by Malaysian Cocoa Board MCB in Tenom area of Sabah. The main
purpose of the paper is to discuss the achievement of the CSDP. This evaluation
will involve a systematic collection of information on CSDP: including the
information and data on how activities/program is carried out; program
characteristic; outcome of the program and the background of personnel involved
in this program. By looking at cocoa farmer’s yields achievement analysis and its
result, it can be concluded that the main objective of the CSDP has been
achieved more than the target level. The CSDP main target statement is to
increase cocoa smallholder productivity to more than1.5 ton/ha/ year of dry
cocoa beans within 3 years of the initial implementation. Whereas the average
yields achieved by farmers in area evaluate is at 1.6 ton per hectare year. This is
a clear indicator that objective of the CSDP program implemented in Tenom has
been successfully achieved. The program has also helped increase income of
the small scale cocoa farmers and thus improved their livelihood. Therefore, it is
fair to say that the program has given a new life to the Malaysian Cocoa Industry
as well as to the small scale cocoa farmers and thus should be continued.

Paper presented at the International Conference on Agricultural Extension (AGREX) on 15-19 June 2008
at Hotel Equatorial Bangi–Putrajaya, Bangi, Selangor
Regional Extension Officer, Technology of Transfer Division, Malaysian Cocoa Board
Professor, Department of Professional Development and Continuing Education
Director General of Malaysian Cocoa Board
Director, Technology of Transfer Division, Malaysian Cocoa Board


There are more than 8,000 cocoa farmers involve in MCB farmers development
program throughout the country since it was started in 1995. Tenom is one of the
areas involved in the implementation of the CSDP covering a total of 1,200
hectare of cocoa that involves more than 1,100 cocoa farmers. The CSDP was
first initiated in 1995 by the Malaysian Cocoa Board (MCB) as one of the
strategies to improve the Malaysian cocoa farms production.

The main objective of Malaysian Cocoa Smallholder Development Program

(CSDP) is to increase cocoa smallholder productivity to 1.5 ton/ha/year of dry
cocoa beans within 3 years of project implementation.

Subsequently, CSDP is one of the major extension programs in the Transfer of

Technology (TOT) division of the MCB. The CSDP has gone through phases
and evolution since it was implemented way back in the 7th Malaysian Plan
(1996) until today. As one of the management tools, the Transfer of Technology
(TOT) Division has established several policies which cover the following:

a) Policy Setting

I. Planting
Rehabilitation of unproductive cocoa tree or farm. The Target
groups for this program are farmers who already own cocoa farms
that are not productive. These farmers will receive incentives in
terms of knowledge technology (course, demonstration, visits etc)
as well as material technology (agricultural inputs, fertilizers,
material planting etc).

New cocoa planting cultivation. The target groups for this
program are any farmers who are interested to plant cocoa or those
who want to rehabilitate their old cocoa by planting new cocoa.
They will also receive incentives in term of knowledge technology
(course, demonstration, visit, etc) and material technology
(agricultural inputs, material planting, etc).

ii. Processing

Establishment of new cocoa processing center. The target

groups are farmers groups who do not have any processing and
drying facility.
Establishment of cocoa drying yards. This is targeted at
individual farmer who does not have any drying facility.

iii. Marketing
Setting up cocoa collection centers. It is important to set up
cocoa collection centers especially for the farmers who are facing
the marketing problem to enable them to have collective marketing.

b) Sourcing and management of fund. Funds for this programme are

sourced from the Federal Government under the RMK9, RMK8 and

c) Monitoring and Coordination. Monitoring and coordinating of programs

are conducted at all levels of implementation by TOT. It is important to do this to
ensure that the objectives of each program are achieved.

d) Dissemination and Commercialization of Technologies. Technologies
are disseminated and commercialized through exhibition, advertisement and
visits by the MCB personals.

e) Training and Awareness Program to Target Groups. MCB through its

Technology Transfer Division conducts a number of courses involving farmers in
the targeted area through formal and informal training. Formal training involved
class-room styled lectures while informal training are carried out during visits to
cocoa farms.

f) Financial Assistance. Financial assistance in terms of inputs such as

cocoa seedlings and agriculture inputs were also given to the target groups to
encourage and motivate them in the cultivation of cocoa and to expedite the
transfer of technology.

Objective of Paper

The purpose of this paper is to analyse the evaluation result on the

implementation of the CSDP. Evaluation exercise will be focused on the
implementation and development of CSDP in Tenom area of Sabah.

Tenom is one of the interior districts in Sabah located at about 250 km from Kota
Kinabalu, the capital city of Sabah. Agriculture is the main economic activities of
the people here and cocoa cultivation is the second important crop in this area.

Under the 7th, 8th and 9th Malaysian Plan the MCB has developed more than
1,200 ha of cocoa in this area with the involvement of about 1,100 farmers at
various stages of implementation under the CSDP. At this moment, Tenom is

the second largest district producing of dry cocoa beans in Sabah after Tawau. In
2002 the MCB has opened branch office in this district to facilitate the
devolvement of cocoa smallholder involving the extension program and the
transfer of technology activities to the farmers.

Since the district of Tenom received one of the biggest allocations for cocoa
development program, it is important to evaluate the extension program
implemented by the MCB in this area.

Purpose of the Evaluation

The main purpose of the evaluation exercise is to evaluate the achievement of

the CSDP. In addition the evaluation was also conducted for the following
 To evaluate the level of Knowledge, skill and abilities of the
personnel involved in implementation of the program in Tenom
 To identify causes that lead to the failure of the program.
 To ensure the program is implemented as planned.
 To improve the project for future implementation.

The personnel involves in this evaluation is Tenom Officer in charge (Assistant

Regional Officer), extension agent and all staff who are involve directly in the
program implementation in Tenom.


The first part of the evaluation was concerned with the analysis of income and
yield record gained by farmers. The data was gathered from the cocoa farmer’s
record book that was eventually transferred to the data base of MCB Tenom
office. The information from this record was then used to expand an in-depth
measuring of the overall achievement of the cocoa farmers involved in this
program. The sample data were gathered from farmers in phase 8/II started from
year 2003 until 2005.

The second part of the data evaluation collected from the questionnaire to the 18
staff members in West Coast and Interior Area of Sabah. The selection of this
sample is base on their direct involvement in the implementation of this program.
The purpose of the questionnaire was to evaluate the level of knowledge, skill
and ability of the staff or the extension agent.

The evaluation exercise involved a systematic collection of information on CSDP.

It involved information and data on activities / program carried out, program
characteristic and outcome of the program and the background of personnel that
run this program. This was the first formal evaluation conducted on this program
for this area.

Types of Data Collected and Reference.

 Characteristic of the Program. The following documents were used to
gather data: report (Monthly report; Quarterly report; Annual report;
Monitoring report; and Audit report)
 Amount of participation by the target program
 Record of production or yield and income
 Policies concerning cost share

 Type of participatory
 Demographic data
 Job analysis questionnaire

Description of Data Collection Technique. The data were collected from three
levels. The first level of data collection were from documents available in Tenom,
Ranau and Kota Kinabalu MCB office. Second levels of data collected were from
observation, interview and discussion with staff and farmers that involve directly
in the implementation of this program. Third levels of data were from
questionnaires gathered from staff involved and farmer’s yields record.

Questionnaire Data. Questionnaire form were distributed to 18 staff involved

directly in the CSDP located at Kota Kinabalu Office (3), Ranau office (7) and
Tenom office (8). Staff ranking vary from Assistant Regional Officer (officer
incharge), Research Assistants and the support staff (Pembantu Rendah Am
and Pembantu Am Rendah). The main purpose of using the questionnaire as a
method of evaluation is to gather data and information on: Extension staff Policy
Adoption on Extension Approach; Knowledge Adoption on TOT Approach; Skills
level on Extension Approach; and KSA level on TOT approach.

Results and Discussion

Procedures Used for Data Analysis. In determining the level of objective

attainment of the project through statistical analysis, SPSS and Excel computer
system were used. Basic data statistic such as the distribution of data, the
central tendency and dispersion of the data are used to describe the basic
features of the data in the study. Simple graphic analysis i.e. histogram or bar
chart were tabulated to explain the frequency distribution of the data study.

In addition, the t-test was also used to assess whether there were differences of
the means in the yearly data.

Cocoa Farmers Yield Achievement

Total number of sample collected for this analysis was 60 farmers for three years
(2003 – 2005). From the t-Test (one sample statistic) in Table 2, it revealed that
most of the farmers involved in the CSDP had achieved the main program
Table 2
Statistic Data of Cocoa Farmers Average yield for 3 Years (2003 – 2005)

Dry Cocoa Beans (kg/ha/year)

2003 2004 2005 Average

N 60 60 60 60
Mean 1778.98 1699.88 1349.39 1609.42

Std. Deviation 226.36 255.45 290.95 257.59

It was found that average yield achieved by farmers (1609.42 kg/year/ha) are
above the CSDP target or objective that is 1,500 kg/ha/year (Figure 1). Most of
the farmers (76.70 %) are beyond the level of 1,500 kg/ha/year of dry cocoa
beans. The highest yield achieved by cocoa farmers is 2,296.00 kg/ha/years dry
cocoa beans.

However there were also farmers that failed to achieve the target where the
minimum achievement is 1,183.33 kg/ha/year. There were 14 farmers or about
23.30 % of the sample fails to achieve that SCDP main objective. From the
interview with the staff concern and visit to the farmer’s field, it was found that
farmers did not make any effort to maintain and take care of their cocoa farm.

The cocoa farms were almost abandoned. This was a result of lack of interest by
the farmers to maintain their cocoa farm as they have other thing to do such as
driving taxi, operating restaurant and actively involved in political activities.

Figure1: Average Tenom CSDP Yield (Year 2003 – 2005).

Cocoa Farmers Income achievement

The most ultimate objective of this program was to enhance the socio economy
among the farmers participant through improve yields and eventually uplifting the
farmers income. From the yields analysis shows that there were significance
increases in the income of farmer’s as their cocoa yield increased. Average
income earn by farmers for every hectare planted with cocoa is RM 10,591.10

(Table 3). The dry cocoa beans price at that time was RM 5,400 per ton. This
contributed to the monthly income of farmers at about RM 883.60.

Table 3
Statistic Data of Cocoa Farmers Average Income for 3 Years (2003 – 2006)

Cocoa Farmers Average Income

2003 2004 2005 Average

N 60 60 60 60
Mean 10673.88 9519.35 6881.89 9025.04

Std. Deviation 1358.18 1430.53 1483.85 1424.18

Std. Error Mean 175.34 184.68 191.56 183.86

The highest income earn by farmers was RM 12,900.73 (RM 1,075.06 per
month) and the lowest was RM 6,758.38 (RM 563.20 per month). The income
target of this program was 1,500 kg per year per hectare or RM 8,000 per
hectare per year (RM 667 per month). From the analysis, only 13.40 % of
farmers’ falls under the income below RM 8,000 per year or RM 667 per month
(Figure 2).

Figure 2: Average Income By farmers from 1 hectare Cocoa Farm per Year

Goal Achievement Analysis

Objective Attainment. By looking at cocoa farmer’s yields achievement

analysis and its result, it can be concluded that the main objective of the Cocoa
Smallholder Development program CSDP is achieved beyond the target level.
The CSDP main target statement is to increase cocoa smallholder productivity to
1.5 ton/ha/year of dry cocoa beans within 3 years time frame. Whereas the
average yields achieved by farmers in area evaluate is at 1.961 ton per hectare
year. This is a clear indicator that objective of the CSDP program implemented
in Tenom has been successfully achieved.

Adoption of technologies. From the visit and observation in farmer’s fields, the
adoption of technologies among farmers can be clearly seen. Farmers who have
been exposed to the transfer of technology from this program had begun
practicing most of the technologies learnt in their farms such as the use side
grafting in the rehabilitation of old cocoa trees, using right type of cocoa clone for
rehabilitating or new planting and awareness of the importance of using fertilizing
to boost production.

Farmers Knowledge and Capacity. The attainment of knowledge and capacity

through courses conducted by Tenom MCB office in the CSDP can be clearly
seen through farmer’s farm management. The farm is better managed in term of
pruning, P&D control and usage of the right method in the rehabilitation of their
farms. From the field interview with the farmers, most farmers can now diagnose
common diseases through symptoms at an earlier stage and take appropriate
action immediately to prevent further damage to their cocoa farms.

Socio-Economic Attainment. The impact of the technology transfer to the

socio-economic of the farmers can be seen through the increase in their farms
yield. This can be clearly seen in the farmers’ plot who participated in the
Malaysian Cocoa Smallholder Development Program (PPPKKM). The yields
analysis shows that there are significance increases in the farmer’s income when
cocoa yield increased. Average income earn by farmers for every hectarage
planted with cocoa is RM 9025.04 (at current price of RM 5400 per ton of dry
cocoa beans). This contributed to the monthly income earn by farmers around
RM 752.09. Most of these farmers have improved their income through increase
in cocoa yield. Participation in this program has also helped to reduce cost of
production which further improves the margin of the farmers’ income.

Related Discussion and Analysis

Establishment of Farmers Group Cocoa Processing Center under CSDP.

Processing wet cocoa beans into dry cocoa beans can add value to the cocoa
and increase the farmers’ income by about 40% (Duris: 2000) of the existing
income. In year 2000, MCB developed a processing center in kampong
Singgaron Baru, Ranau, Sabah under the Malaysia Cocoa Smallholder
Development Program CSDP. Under this plan, MCB provided building materials
to a group of farmers but the construction of the set up was carried through the
cooperative efforts of the farmers. The MCB supervised and provided advice on
the engineering aspect of construction. It was a very successful cooperation
between MCB and farmers group.

MCB had to make sure that these farmers were capable of managing and
adopting the technology given. MCB then call for a meeting among farmers’
groups and after a series of discussion, the root of the problem was identified.
The main problem was lack of knowledge and skills in managing a business
venture. A course was then organized by MCB to rectify this problem.

During the course, farmers were exposed to several alternatives in the

management of the cocoa processing center. Bank personnel were also invited
to give talk on how to source funding. At the end of the course, a dialog session
was held to give each farmers an opportunity to discuss and give their opinions
on the way to manage the center.

Immediately after the course, farmers called a meeting with their groups. They
decided that the management of cocoa center should be placed under one
committee. The farmers group members agreed to set up a committee. The

farmers then held an election to elect a chairman, a secretary, a treasurer and a
number of committee members.

Operation of the center started soon after that and the first sale of dry cocoa
beans amounting to more than RM22,000.00 was made to Tawau. The amount
of this sale gained by this center motivated the farmers to be more cooperative
and they continue selling their wet beans to this center till this day. But can this
system be implemented elsewhere?

Apparently, the same concept and system were implemented for the group of
cocoa farmers in Semporna and Tawau in Sabah (Sabah East Coast) but it did
not succeed. The Sarawak group of farmers also showed a lack of interest in the
participation of the group processing activities and thus might not succeed. On
the other hand, this concept had shown tremendous success when implemented
in Tenom and Ranau. What lead to this scenario? Do the cultural background
and farmers’ attitude contribute to the failure and success of the system? Is the
technology suitable for some and not suitable for others? Could it be that the
MCB’s personnel in the unsuccessful areas mentioned lack knowledge and skills
in the development of the farmers in their area?

Conclusion and Recommendations

The Malaysian Cocoa Small Holders Development Program was initiated in 1995
at a time when the price of cocoa was at one of its lowest point and the cocoa
industry was on its downward slide.

The implementation of the Cocoa Small Holders Development Program by the

Malaysian Cocoa Board has created interest in the cultivation of cocoa among
small scale cocoa farmers. The program has also helped increase income of the

small scale cocoa farmers and thus improved their livelihood. Therefore, it is fair
to say that the program has given a new life to the Malaysian Cocoa Industry as
well as to the small scale cocoa farmers and thus worth continuing.

Indeed, under the Nine Malaysian Plan, the Malaysian Cocoa Board is
intensifying their program through the implementation of the Cocoa Rehabilitation
Scheme. As the program had shown a positive result to the cocoa industry in
Malaysia terms of increase of cocoa bean production and in transferring a better
cocoa technology to farmers, MCB should further expand this program into larger
and wider areas in the country to benefit more small scale cocoa farmers.


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