Exploring a distinctive industrial development model for Hainan cocoa beans

By Wu Ruolin, Chen Yuanneng / HICN / Updated: 17:19,09-October-2021

The Hainan cocoa bean industry is going international! The future development of Hainan's cocoa bean industry, which is in its infancy and exploration stage, is receiving quite a lot of attention.

Back in the 80s and 90s, cocoa beans were grown on large swathes of land in Hainan. However, the amount of land used to grow cocoa beans continues to shrink due to low domestic market demand. The Hainan cocoa bean industrial chain is incomplete.



Cocoa Tree. CHEN YUANNENG


"High quality Hainan cocoa beans have not been seen on the market previously, so many farmers are not willing to grow them," said Li Liangbin, manager of Hainan Wanning Xinlong Cocoa Co, Ltd. However, Hainan cocoa beans are becoming better known and demand for them is now growing. Profits have increased so that many farmers now see their market potential and have begun to grow cocoa beans. 

According to Li Fupeng, the director of Cocoa & Specialty Tea Center of the Flavor Beverage Institute, Chinese Academy of Tropical Agriculture Science, “the area where cocoa beans are grown in Hainan is limited, so we should explore a special, effective industrial development mode. Cocoa beans are suitable as a main tourism product not only for their high ornamental value, but also for their high nutritional value. Meanwhile, we can also coordinate with domestic chocolate production and processing enterprises to create a Hainan chocolate brand.”



Cocoa Beans. CHEN YUANNENG


In Xinglong Tropical Botanical Gardens, the handmade chocolate experience center attracts many people to try their own hand at making chocolate from cocoa beans. This model of sourcing high-quality cocoa beans directly from consumers and creating their own chocolate is worth learning from. “Relying on the development of tourism in Hainan, this model is feasible here,” said Li Fupeng. 

As Hainan cocoa beans are generally interplanted with other crops, farmers can grow them alongside betel nut, rubber, and palm trees, which is not only conducive for agroforestry, but also helps farmers raise their land use rates and increase their incomes.

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